Wow. First DIARY OF THE DEAD, and now this--now that George A. Romero has re-asserted himself, now we get Stuart Gordon back on the big screen!
Not that anybody goes to SEE these movies, mind you...
STUCK is one of those that you can't quite call a horror film, but which the horror fans are nonetheless going to claim as one of their own--and that's perfectly fair!
Perhaps you remember the case of Chante Jawan Mallard. This was the scandal story of October 2001, where an intoxicated driver plowed into a homeless man, leaving him impaled on her windshield--and rather than call 911 and get HERSELF into trouble, drove her car, still-living man and all, into her garage...
Well, Stuart Gordon went and made himself a movie inspired by this very event--it hits all the main points but goes on to invent itself one hell of a resolution... this is NOT a straight dramatization (we already got the CSI and the Law and Order versions).
Stephen Rea gets top billing as Tom Bardo, victim, who has already had quite a bad day--though everyone tells him that it's his choice completely. "Vacate the premises or I call the cops. It's your choice." "You're not in the computer (even though he already went through all the paperwork and had an appointment at the employment agency). Fill out the paperwork and follow procedure or don't. It's your choice." "Go to the mission or I'll bust you for sleeping in the park. It's your choice." And Tom, down and out as he can get, still does his best to make the right choice every time.
And Mena Suvari is Brandi, the nursing assistant who's up for a big promotion... but she's driving while intoxicated. And on drugs. And talking on her cell phone. Well, she made her choice, too. But naturally, she blames Tom for "doing this" to her and putting her in such a predicament...
This being a Stuart Gordon film, expect plenty of twisted, bloody humor and occasionally infuriating suspense as more and more people get close to the secret that Brandi knows she can't possibly keep--which, of course, won't stop her from trying. And look for Carolyn Purdy-Gordon as Brandi's supervisor.
Oh, and take note of the casting. The real-life Chante Jawan Millard is an African-American woman, and while the names have been changed (along with plenty of other details, as I said, but there will be no spoilers here), all of Brandi's friends are black, she hangs out at a black nightclub, and her hair is done up in black cornrows. Now, 'race' is never mentioned in the movie, and it isn't clear at all whether Suvari was actually cast as a black woman or as a white girlfriend who does her best to look and act the part. It's one of those casting choices that just DARES you to say something about it. Well, I said something about it. I said that I noticed it. And she does a great job in the role. So there.
STUCK isn't about race, and it isn't about politics (although other reviewers have gotten the wrong idea simply because characters invoke everyone from O.J. Simpson to George W. Bush as they try to excuse themselves from responsibility). No. Doesn't cut it. How anyone could miss the point is beyond me... it's YOUR choice and therefore YOUR responsibility, no matter what anyone else did, and no matter how it turned out for them.
You'll have to sniff this one out, but it's worth it. This is a bloody, gripping, thoughtful and hugely entertaining thriller.
Summer movies are fun, but the very best movies aren't in the multiplex this year!
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