|SHADOWS ON THE WALL | REVIEWS | NEWS | FESTIVAL | AWARDS | Q&A | ABOUT | TALKBACK|
|Special Specioprin Hydrochloride|
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E||
dir-scr Hal Haberman, Jeremy Passmore|
with Michael Rapaport, Josh Peck, Robert Baker, Jack Kehler, Paul Blackthorne, Ian Bohen, Alexandra Holden, Christopher Darga, Erich Anderson, Karen Bryant, Michael Shamus Wiles, Amanda Carlin
release UK 17.Nov.06; US 21.Nov.08
Defying gravity: Rapaport and Darga
Gentle subculture comedy, creepy low-budget fantasy thriller, warm voyage of self-discovery--this is like three movies in one. And a surprisingly engaging, provocative little film that's hard to get out of your head.
To lighten his dull life, traffic warden Les (Rapaport) signs up for a clinical trial of a new drug designed to remove self-doubt. But for Les, the pills seem to release his inner superhero, as he discovers extraordinary powers and abilities, which he deploys to stop crime. But the drug's creators (Blackthorn and Bohen) are chasing him in a massive black Lincoln, the doctor (Kehler) running the trial starts acting fishy, and it seems like they've got to Les' comic-shop owning stoner pals (Peck and Baker) as well. Or maybe he's just going mad.
Filmmakers Haberman and Passmore deploy plenty of imagination and invention, making the very most of their limited resources with evocative photography, clever effects and tricky stunt work that's bizarrely more effective than most big Hollywood productions. Mainly, this is because we can so easily identify with Les and his mindless day-to-day existence, and the possibility that maybe there's something special about him after all. Even if he's a nutcase, it still feels like hope. And it's in this emotional subtext that the film really gets under our skin.
Rapaport dives into this role completely, beautifully drawing out both humour and pathos. When his boss (Darga) forces him to recite his mantra ("I'm important and I keep this city running"), we understand the deep sense of pointlessness. And when he suddenly finds perhaps a bit too much purpose in life, his ridiculous superhero suit is almost painfully touching. Especially as he tentatively and joyfully experiments with levitation, telepathy and teleporting.
Haberman and Passmore keep things wonderfully enigmatic. We're never quite sure if this is merely happening in Les' clouded mind, or whether there's something truly "special" going on. But that's not the point. This scruffy movie has a remarkably strong message about self-worth. And it's told in a refreshingly low-tech style that's funny, moving and unsettling. These are definitely filmmakers to watch.
|Still waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.|
© 2006 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
HOME | REVIEWS | NEWS | FESTIVAL | AWARDS | Q&A | ABOUT | TALKBACK