Much of the film resembles a rambling monologue as Keane searches for clues. Keane is jobless, living on his disability check. Briefly breaking off from his quest, he sings excessively loudly in a bar and snorts cocaine with a young woman in a bathroom. Keane's frenzied desperation and sudden bursts of violence call his emotional stability into question.
Director/writer Lodge Kerrigan ("Clean, Shaven") gives his film the unrelenting bleakness of characters whose lives have become a continual struggle. Kerrigan said the film was inspired by his anxiety when his young daughter disappeared after running down store aisles. "Keane" was executive produced by Steven Soderbergh, who called Kerrigan out of the blue to offer his assistance.
With the relentless focus on Keane, the film is held together by the raw intensity of Damian Lewis' portrait of the emotional torment of a man whose life is falling apart. (Lewis was equally convincing as an obsessive aristocrat in Masterpiece Theatre's multi-decade "Forsyte Saga.")
The film improves after Keane befriends Lynn (Amy Ryan) and her young daughter Kyra (Abigail Breslin), who are staying at the same hotel. Suspense builds after the mother asks Keane to watch her daughter. Keane is kind and tender to Kyra, putting her at ease. But some of Keane's secret activities seem disturbing, adding a potentially menacing edge to his relationship with the young girl. Lewis and Kerrigan skillfully bring an ambiguity to Keane and a welcome complexity to the film. Starring Damian Lewis, Abigail Breslin and Amy Ryan. Directed and written by Lodge Kerrigan. Produced by Andrew Fierberg. A Magnolia release. Drama. Rated R for a scene of strong sexuality, drug use and language. Running time: 94 min