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[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

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[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

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 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
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Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
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Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
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Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Lisbon
Fat Possum
LOSTATSEA.NET > FEATURES >

October 20, 2008
RATING: 8.5/10
In 2002, Chante Jawan Mallard hit a homeless man with her car while driving on the streets of Fort Worth, Texas. The man, Gregory Biggs, was thrown into Mallard's car by the force of the impact, where his body became stuck in the vehicle's windshield. Rather that getting help, Mallard, a former nurse's aide, fled the scene with Biggs' body halfway inside the car and left him lodged there, in her garage, bleeding but alive, for two days before he finally died. The story of this horrific and senseless crime has been turned into a film by director Stuart Gordon, of Re-Animator fame, and after an extremely limited theatrical run earlier in the year was released on DVD last week.



Gordon's film, which runs from John Strysik's screenplay that is in turn based on a story Gordon himself wrote, stars Mena Suvari as Brandi, the nurse's aide who commits the atrocious act, and Stephen Rea as the homeless man. The drama that plays out between the two, who are by far the camera's primary focus, is taut, cringe-inducing, engaging, and horrifying, and that success is the result of Gordon's excellent direction and a cast - including Russell Hornsby as Brandi's boyfriend, Rashid - that is game to tackle the sordid material.

We first meet Brandi at her job, where she appears to be a sympathetic nurse in trying conditions, cleaning up an old man after he has shit himself. Although she has to work the next day, a Saturday, when Brandi's boss tells her that she's in line for a promotion the news is met with celebration and rowdy Friday night partying. While out on the town unwinding Brandi pops a couple of Ecstasy pills and has a few drinks, then drives herself home and smashes into Tom, who has just been evicted from his apartment. The crash scene is powerful and gory, replayed in slow-motion and rivaling Quentin Tarantino's Rashoman-style crash rendering in Death Proof [LAS feature].



Throughout the first half of the film Gordon almost makes the viewer feel sorry for Brandi. It's easy to identify with the frantic feeling of being in a horrible fix with little to no options. But as she hits Tom in the head with a board and yells at him after he begs her for help, telling him that their predicament is his fault - all while he is still stuck in the windshield, mind you - any sense of empathy begins to fade. For Brandi's is the ultimate selfish act, committed by a person who, when confronted with a life or death situation, clearly only cares about herself. Rashid contributes to the absurdity of the story, amplifying her delusions by reassuring her, "Anybody can do anything to anyone and get away with it." This is true to a certain point (Mallard wasn't caught until months later when she began bragging about the incident). When her neighbor's son spies the carnage through the garage window after hearing Tom's frantic honking of the car's horn he dutifully tells his parents, only to have his father, a Latino immigrant, decline to act for fear of being deported. A bleak scenario, indeed.

The final conflict of the film is a bit over-the-top, as the story drifts further and further away from the reality of the situation. Gordon's decision to end the film with a redemptive act is satisfying in a visceral sense, but also feels like a bit of a cop-out considering the sheer vulgarity of Mallard's story. Still, Stuck is a gritty, tense, and concise thriller that should immediately be added to your Netflix queue.

TRAILER: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z14NEY-pSfE

SEE ALSO: www.image-entertainment.com
SEE ALSO: www.thinkfilmcompany.com

--
Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other articles by Jonah Flicker.

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