American Perfekt Reviews
The plot owes a little gratitude to Luke Reinhardt's cult novel The Dice Man, and though this film is nowhere near as clever as that piece of fiction, it is still reasonably entertaining, with decent performances.
A young woman (Faruza Balk) travelling through the desert on her way to meet her sister (Plummer) crosses paths with a psychotic physician (Forster) who decides his actions on the flip of a coin.
When I seen this years ago, I was thoroughly entertained and thought it was a highly original and exciting film. On second viewing, it doesn't quite stand up to scrutiny. The originality I thought it once had is basically taken from novelist Luke Reinhart's "The Dice Man". What is an intriguing premise is played out with such a lack of urgency that it becomes very tedious, very quickly. It picks up when Fairuza Balk arrives in town though and Forster's psycho pychologist begins to reveal himself. However, he's still a little tepid and despite a decent performance, he's not nearly menacing enough. There are a few things worthy of admiration but it's the pacing that's all wrong, letting down a decent cast and missing an opportunity for genuine thrills.
A half baked psychological thriller that aims high but ultimately falls hard from it's intended target.
One for the future: David Thewlis
Stand-out scene: Barn toss-up
Brainer or no-brainer: Brainer
Stands up to one viewing or repeated?: Repeated
DVD commentary any good?: n/a
I really enjoyed this off-beat indie road movie written and directed by a Brit, Paul Chart. It took him 8 years to make his next film, which is a little perplexing. Sandra (Amanda Plummer) is travelling to her parents' house along a dusty, sun-baked American highway when she is seemingly forced off the road. A fellow motorist comes to her aid, the smartly-dressed Jake (Robert Forster from Jackie Brown) who announces himself to be a doctor. He appears to be temperate and sane, but it soon emerges that he's making his decisions at the flip of a coin and the choices he's making aren't between things like tea or coffee but whether the people he meets live or die. One of this movie's great features is that for most of its running time you don't know what's going to happen next or whether certain characters are in collusion with each other. Sandra's sister (Fairuza Balk), who is due to meet up with her at a motel, figures in the latter part of the movie and as the story unravels for us viewers, so the penny drops for the main players. The open-ended conclusion, which in some films is just plain annoying, here invited the viewer to ponder the possibilities of the given situation, which added to my enjoyment of it. Not quite perfekt but getting there.
Just go and get the originals: anything written by Tarantino will do.