Crime & Punishment in Suburbia (2000)



Critic Consensus: Despite the beautiful visuals, Crime and Punishment is too somber and pretentious. Also, the acting is of mixed quality.

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Movie Info

Recalling both The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) and American Beauty (1999), this teen drama recounts the trials and tribulations of one very dysfunctional family. Roseanne Skolnik (Monica Keena) is a popular high school student who is dating Jimmy (James DeBello), the football captain. She also lives in a family where her embittered mother Maggie (Ellen Barkin) is plotting to murder Roseanne's violent drunken stepfather Fred (Michael Ironside). After a smashed Fred rapes her, Roseanne starts plotting her stepfather's demise too. She ropes her boyfriend into doing the deed, and soon she finds herself under arrest and on trial for the crime. With all of her friends shunning her, she confides in her creepy voyeuristic neighbor. This film was screened at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival.
R (brutal violence, strong sexuality, language, and substance abuse)
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:

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Monica Keena
as Roseanne Skolnik
Ellen Barkin
as Maggie Skolnik
Michael Ironside
as Fred Skolnik
Bonnie Somerville
as Stuck Up Girl
Lucinda Jenney
as Vincent's Mom
Jim Boyce
as Mr. Dwyer
Matt Champagne
as Counselor Lord
Jim Swanson
as Rat Fink Neighbor
Tommy Perna
as Officer Lambert
Tommy Bush
as Chief Judson
Susan Davis
as Grandmother
Brad Greenquist
as Calvin Berry
Dennis Liss
as Bailiff
Jeff Lawrence
as Judge Jack
Valerie Wildman
as Prosecutor
Jack Angel
as Russ
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Crime & Punishment in Suburbia

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (13)

You wouldn't want to give any of these people the time of day in real life. They are blah or worse, and they are headed for some violent confrontations that seem pointless because they are so unworthy of our attention in the first place.

December 31, 1999
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Far from the head-banging alternative to teen movies the filmmakers intended -- it's more like a self-important Poison Ivy sequel.

December 31, 1999
Mr. Showbiz
Top Critic

Director Rob Schmidt photographs the action in that visually clichéd, MTV-influenced manner now de rigeur in much of independent cinema.

December 31, 1999
New York Post
Top Critic

Every single thing about Crime and Punishment in Suburbia is stolen and tired.

December 31, 1999
Seattle Times
Top Critic

The ghost of Dostoevsky should sue.

December 31, 1999
Top Critic

The best thing that can be said about Rob Schmidt's Crime and Punishment in Suburbia -- aside from the fact that it's over in less than two hours -- is that it doesn't glorify violence committed by sexy teens.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Crime & Punishment in Suburbia

A potentially interesting premise that just never really congeals into a quality picture. The film is meant to be a somewhat loose contemporary execution of Dostoyevsky's classic novel "Crime and Punishment", and there are brief moments where the film feels like it is going to deliver on this concept. Instead it repeatedly falls into a host of bad independent film cliches; supporting characters who are weird just for the sake of being weird so the film doesn't feel flat and lifeless, unfocused and random quick cuts to give the film a pseudo-hip edge, desperate attempts to tackle controversial topics like incest, abuse, and murder in a gritty way but making it ultimately feel like a cheesy after-school interpretation. Monica Keena does ok in the lead role, but having seen her do well on other stuff, like the TV show "Undeclared", she falls rather short in her work here. Michael Ironside and Ellen Barkin feel like they are phoning it in as well, especially Ironside as a somewhat over-the-top "drunken dad" stock character. I bought this at work for 4.99 on a whim as the idea of the film sounded worth looking into......I don't feel ripped off but I'm glad I didn't spend more than that.

Michael Clayton
Michael Clayton

Odd. It certainly reminds me of [Thirteen] & [American Beauty] but this one is way much more ridiculous- it's fine as long as this was what the film makers intended to make the viewers feel.


Thoughtfully directed and scted. An involving story with a good score. It moves along at a nice pace and the characters are interesting

James Higgins
James Higgins

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