A Private War
Crazy Rich Asians
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All Critics (12)
| Top Critics (2)
| Fresh (7)
| Rotten (5)
| DVD (1)
[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.
It's engrossing, and Marquette is a genuinely scary customer, a dry-cleaned all-American sociopath.
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.
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.
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.
Slow and a little smug, but the film-makers' imagination saves the day.
Upon watching Public Access, it's pretty clear why this film never went anywhere at the time it was made, even though it won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.
Public Access is a prime example of the kind of elliptical storytelling that has become so popular these days and though it suffers some consequential narrative ambiguities, they do not mar the film's overall impact.
When it comes right down to it, though, Access isn't accessible enough, and it doesn't sprint to the finish.
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.
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