Crime and Punishment in Suburbia (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
|I guess it was just a matter of time until
American Beauty had its own school, like the Dutch
masters. Actually, the Robbins report on this one is
"American Beauty" meets "The Doom
Generation". It isn't really influenced by
"Beauty", because it was filmed in the summer
of 1999, and I assume the filmmakers had never seen the
As for "Crime and Punishment", the titular reference to Dostoevsky's novel indicates a tight connection, but none exists. Crime and Punishment provides only a sketchy outline for the action.
|Monica comes from a dysfunctional suburban family. Her father is a drunken loser who stays home feeling sorry for himself and her mother is a drunken loser who goes out to feel sorry for herself. They have angry and solemn dinner conversations which can erupt into screaming fits.||
dating a popular football player, but she has been
noticing that a shy neighbor is obsessed with her and
keeps taking pictures of her. She is oddly attracted to
him. He is Doestoevsky's Sonya, by way of American
Beauty's Wes Bentley.
Things go very wrong with Monica's parents, and they split up, leaving Monica alone with dad. Dad gets too drunk and commits an act of incestuous rape.
In a confused flurry of violence, Monica and her jock boyfriend come to the house and kill dad grotesquely (It involves an electric carving knife like the ones used at Thanksgiving!), without realizing that dad had just finished a major fight with mom and mom's boyfriend.
The cops arrest mom for the murder and she is convicted.
But mom's boyfriend knows they didn't do it, so he snoops around and figures it out. He confronts Monica and the jock, and ends up nearly killing the kid.
Overwhelmed with guilt, and seeing the situation careening out of control, Monica finally confesses to the crime and mom is released. Unfortunately, Mom can't go back to her boyfriend, since he has to go to prison for the assault on the jock. So it goes.
Monica languishes in prison, with nobody to visit her but the strange camera-obsessed neighbor. We find out that it is from prison that she has been narrating the story in flashback.
|I don't recommend this
movie at all. It is a long way from a finished product
with a consistent tone, and it has all the pretension,
exaggeration, and skewed sensibility of American Beauty
with none of the humor and gentility and underlying
humanity to balance it off.
On the other hand, the director shows a lot of promise. Some of the scenes have a real visual poetry to them, and there are some interesting wrinkles in the lighting techniques. Maybe he is capable of making a top movie.
But this ain't it. This is an unsubtle cartoon.
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