[Sidebar] The Worcester Phoenix
Sept. 8 - 15, 2000

[Movie Reviews]

| reviews & features | by movie | by theater | film specials | hot links |


by Alicia Potter

In his first foray as writer and director, Christopher McQuarrie revisits the hyper-verbal depravity and alienated cool that won him a screenwriting Oscar for 1995's The Usual Suspects. This time, two dirtbags (Ryan Phillippe and Benicio Del Toro) kidnap a surrogate mother (Juliette Lewis), only to discover that the fat cat paying for the baby (Scott Wilson) is as nefarious as they come. In fact, it's impossible to trust -- or root for -- anyone in this post-Tarantino, Western-inflected noir, and at first the snaky, near nihilistic tale intrigues. McQuarrie wields an eye for detached absurdity (one scene uniting shrimp and an ultrasound video is especially inspired), and he spikes the requisite car chase with admirably fresh turns.

Yet forget about a Keyser Soze-esque sweetener: lacking the cerebral satisfaction of Suspects, this overcooked experiment in violent realism and anti-heroism lags into blood-soaked torpidity. By the time the inevitable, if blisteringly staged, fusillade of bullets erupts, it's a relief to see the bodies crumple. Finally, the end is near.

[Movies Footer]

| home page | what's new | search | about the phoenix | feedback |
Copyright © 2000 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group. All rights reserved.