Archie's Final Project Reviews
My Suicide, a film which I saw a special screening, contains a strong point of view and a distinctive sense of humor that shouldn't be ignored. It also introduces most of us to a new young actor, Gabriel Sunday, who also is attached on the project as co-writer/editor/producer. While it's David Lee Miller's first feature film, and one would want to credit him with the editing style (not at all unlike Natural Born Killers only with the assistance of Avid, or is it Final Cut?), but it's more than likely Sunday's baby. And as it is, it's loaded with the kind of self-deprecating, crazy humor that one would expect from someone who is 16 or 17 and doesn't know what to do with themselves despite being in comfortable middle-class existence with access to technology up the wazoo. It's about human connectivity through media, and or what a self-portrait for a teen means when someone else enters the equation- or the whole school, for that matter.
Basically, Archie wants to kill himself, or rather will only for the project in class which is to document something about one's life. For all of it calling back to Oliver Stone, it's still a refreshing way to get inside of this person's particular mind-set: it's like we're watching most times the actual movie Archie is meant to be presenting his audience, and then here and there the cracks of the third wall being broken and an actual movie going on about this making-of the movie. Some may find the opening ten minutes or so, which has less to do with direct plot than with setting up the tone and sense of humor, as aggressive, but it struck me as being just about right. That, and the very odd, nearly mystical and, sadly ironic, images of David Carradine as the "Death Poet" Vargas talking on camera about this and that like an old sage. He comes on later in the film- actually the more he's seen the less effective he really is- but it's mostly Archie's story, him and Sierra.
Oh yeah, that's another thing too- it's a dark (super duper dark, more like tragic-dark) comedy about two teens with a similar suicidal edge who get into a relationship, one the awkward outsider with a penchant for ripping apart those around him (i.e. the c*** scene with the doctor), the other, Sierra, a super-hot "perfect" teen who dates and lot and also cuts herself with a razor. It's about this subject of suicide, and it's also about these characters coming to terms with it, actually being *alive* as they're plotting their own ends, and what that means in turn when it suddenly projects onto other students around them. It's a good message and often funny, even as its rapid-machine-gun-fire editing technique and warped visual cues with good old green screen go into overload.
The big problem, for me, is a level of predictability that settles in. It doesn't go completely into after-school TV special territory, but it gets close; at least close enough for it to go into just being another teen drama, so to speak, with little spikes of humor in the last third (some, arguably, not totally appropriate, considering that it doesn't stick to its guns as a super-dark comedy till the end). But it's a problem that many in its desired demographic- whack-a-mole teens and their attentive parents- will be entertained and informed by. And, as well as announcing a new young star, it also features some unlikely movie references I enjoyed, such as from Goodfellas the "WHY DID YOU DO THAT!" screaming match between Henry and Karen.