Public Access (1993)



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Before making their Oscar-winning film The Usual Suspects, director Bryan Singer and writer Christopher McQuarrie made their first film -- this low-budget independent feature and Grand Jury Prize winner at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival. Public Access examines the power and dangers of mass media consumption upon a small-town community. Ron Marquette plays Whiley Pritcher, a stranger in the small community of Brewster, who lands a job as the host of a local public access call-in show. On his program he asks the simple question "What's wrong with Brewster?" and gets all manner of call-in complaints -- from discrimination at the school to political corruption at the town hall. Soon, Whiley becomes a local celebrity and an arbiter of public opinion. As his power grows, he makes a pact with Bob Hodges (Burt Williams), Brewster's mayor, and begins an affair with Rachel (Dina Brooks), the town librarian.

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Ron Marquette
as Whiley Pritcher
Burt Williams
as Bob Hodges
Larry Maxwell
as Jeff Abernathy
Charles Kavanaugh
as Mayor Breyer
Brandon Boyce
as Kevin Havey
Leigh Hunt
as Intersect Host
John Renshaw
as Jock Talk Host
Matt Jacobson
as Second Cop
as Jock
Jennifer McManus
as Receptionist
Craig Stovall
as Cameraman 1
Bruce Germaine
as Cameraman 2
Elizabeth Ince
as Tatting Tales Hostess
Shawn Ellis
as Drug Dealer
Ross Collins
as Man With Baby
Virginia Perry
as Mayor's Daughter
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News & Interviews for Public Access

Critic Reviews for Public Access

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (2)

[Public Access] is serious-minded and bounces around some provocative ideas, but is vague about such important matters as key story points, motivation and overriding theme.

Oct 27, 2010
Top Critic

It's engrossing, and Marquette is a genuinely scary customer, a dry-cleaned all-American sociopath.

Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

An uneasy film which sets the viewer up for some surprises and delivers on that promise. Let down, however, by a weak cast of unknowns.

Mar 12, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

As it stands, liberals will feel like the butt of a politically incorrect joke, and conservatives will refuse to recognize Whiley as a kindred spirit. The apolitical will be put off by the director's arty footwork in the service of shadow-satire.

Mar 12, 2014 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Whiley Pritcher is about as pure evil as you are going to see on the screen. Ron Marquette achieves a high level of creepiness in this performance and the rest of the actors are also quite good.

Nov 7, 2010 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Slow and a little smug, but the film-makers' imagination saves the day.

May 24, 2003 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Public Access

In 1995, director Bryan Singer delivered one of the finest crime films - not too mention one of cinema's killer twists - in "The Usual Suspects". Before that, he cut his teeth on this low-budget, independant suspense tale. Whiley Pritcher (Ron Marquette) is an enigmatic stranger who arrives in the small American town of 'Brewster' and starts up a public television show asking the local residents "what's wrong with Brewster?" Not before long, the residents are all calling in, revealing secrets about their neighbours and causing dark fueds, in this once idyllic town. Although this film was done in the early 90's it has a very dated 80's look to it. Despite this, you can still see the early promise from Bryan Singer. It's competantly shot and achieves quite an eerie feel to the whole thing. This little tale would have made a great Twilight Zone episode but as a feature length film, it doesn't quite have enough in the tank for it to hold your interest over a short but somehow protracted 87mins running time. Amature acting is a major letdown also but it's always interesting to see where a career began and Singer certainly shows flourishes of his crime classic to come. It builds slowly and assuredly and it's intriguing premise draws you in, but it ultimately loses it's way and ends with a wimper.

Mark Walker
Mark Walker

Super Reviewer

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