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Brewster seems to be an almost too perfect example of idyllic small-town America, with everyone living in peace and harmony. So when newcomer Whiley Pritcher starts up his own local cable TV show with the question "what's wrong with Brewster?", there surely can't be any deep dark secrets in the town that are just waiting to come to the surface - or can there? And when the question becomes "who's wrong with Brewster?" things start getting seriously nasty Written by
Michael Brooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Stylish and engrossing, but ultimately disappointing
I was prepared to really like this movie, seeing how it came from the same writer-director team as my very favorite movie, "The Usual Suspects." I did find the story of "Public Access" interesting, and Ron Marquette, who played Whiley, was quite talented. He did a great job of evoking a strangely menacing air from an outwardly clean cut character. (I was sorry to read that Marquette killed himself after making the movie). The score complemented Marquette's acting and contributed a great deal to the eerie atmosphere of the film. In fact the score was probably the movie's most effective aspect.
Unfortunately, "Public Access" falls apart at the end (very much unlike "Suspects," which brilliantly brings everything together at the end). We never learn why Whiley is trying to bring down the town by aiding the mayor, and we find out even less about where Whiley comes from and where he is going. In an interview, director Bryan Singer has claimed that the character's motives are not important, but I beg to differ. It was impossible for me to feel anything about the character when he is portrayed as nothing more than an enigma.
Still, if you are as big a fan of "Suspects" as I am it might be worth renting "Public Access" to see where some of the techniques used in the later movie came from. For example, all of the following are present in both Singer-McQuarrie productions: a jumbled voiceover with many people talking at once, a montage of shots of key characters, ominous music and an overall darkness of tone. Perhaps the ending of "Public Access" left the two filmmakers feeling as empty as I felt, and set out to blow the audience away with the ending of their next movie.
Had the characters been somewhat more developed and explained and had the ending brought real closure to the story, "Public Access" could have been a very good film. As it stands, I found it rather mediocre, but not without certain merits.
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