Somehow Gordon-Levitt ends up bagging roles in films that are wonderfully scripted and engaging as hell. Manic is no different. It is a film about a bunch of teenagers committed to a psychiatric facility by their families and while most are trying in vain to deal with their problems, the protagonist, portrayed by Levitt is in denial of his afflictions. His problem with impulse control disorder is depicted not only through the jerky camera work or the gritty sequences but by the virtuous performance by Levitt himself who, even in those early days, were showing distinct promise.
The film is more or less woven around the central character: how he befriends his inmates, how he finds hostility and love in the incarceration, how his problem with his father and his abandonment issue haunts him and finally how he accepts his problem as an integral part of himself, not in a bleak giving up sense, but with the silent pledge to work through this. The only occasions the story veers somewhere else is to show the predicaments of (portrayed by Don Cheadle), the resident psychiatrist of the facility. The seasoned under-rated actor curved out another good performance as the psychiatrist and friend and guardian of the troubled young kids.
So does the film presents us with something groundbreaking? An affirmative no. But is Manic worth watching? Definitely.