directed by Tim Hunter
There are quite a few things that could easily date this teen shocker about a kid who kills his girlfriend, then (apathetically, for all intents and purposes) lets his friends in on the dark secret. The clothes. The talk. The Keanu Reeves as pothead routine. 80s burnouts were probably rolling over this tale of apathy and desensitized youth, but for the sober viewer, this film bears a surreal weight that has helped it to endure beyond the absurdity of the mid 80s. It does not hurt that such talents as Crispin Glover (whose career has only 2 wrinkles, Like Mike and Epic Movie) and Reeves, who brings complexity to a character for whom emotional articulation is a feat. And let's not forget an always electrified Dennis Hooper as Feck, who, well, I'll let you discover that for yourself. It’s a heavy film, shocking and grotesque, but it doesn’t give in to exploitation, instead glimpsing a world of unnerving ambiguity concerning real life that presages such film as Gus Van Sant’s Elephant or Michael Hanecke’s The White Ribbon. Hunter’s film will remain a strange and uncomfortable portrait of self deluded youth who see reality as a game, as something to be manipulated, but strong performances and emotional direction strengthen this film into a classic, however cultish it may be.
FYI: I can hardly contain myself, for I will have the exquisite pleasure of meeting the one and only Crispin Glover in downtown Detroit. He will be gracing Motown with his presence during the month of December, performing a live accompaniment to his slide show and film event at The Burton Theatre. Hope to see you there.