Two New Yorkers are accused of murder in rural Alabama while on their way back to college, and one of their cousins--an inexperienced, loudmouth lawyer not accustomed to Southern rules and manners--comes in to defend them.
Three buddies wake up from a bachelor party in Las Vegas, with no memory of the previous night and the bachelor missing. They make their way around the city in order to find their friend before his wedding.
Suzanne Stone (Maretto) knows exactly what she wants. She wants to be a television newscaster and she is willing to do anything to get what she wants. What she lacks in intelligence, she makes up for in cold determination and diabolical wiles. As she pursues her goal with relentless focus, she is forced to destroy anything and anyone that may stand in her way, regardless of the ultimate cost or means necessary. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
Gus Van Zant's wildly original take on the pursuit of fame at any price is a gruesome black comedy that works flawlessly on every level. Van Zant comes at his story from the viewpoint of a series of narrators who see through media lusting Susan Stone Marretto as she stops at nothing to bask in it's spotlight. The media in turn is more than willing to accommodate.
Nicole Kidman as Susan is intimidating beyond the screen as she narrates much of her story into the camera. In addition to her remarkable seductive charm being put to use she also intimidates with a convincing icy coldness. She is the bold and the beautiful and Kidman is perfect to the role.
Having bullied her way into a job as a weather forecaster at a small audience cable station Susan never stops shooting higher. She enlists three aimless high schoolers in a plot to kill her husband so as to unburden her to pursue her career. With sex as a tool it is easy to convince the moronically dim Jimmy who masturbates to her late night forecasts to come on board. The three teens Joaquin Phoenix, Casey Affleck and Allison Foland are uniformly brilliant particularly Phoenix as the clueless doomed Jimmy. Her husband Larry (Matt Dillon)it might be said is in the same boat. Dillon along with Ileana Douglas and Wayne Knight fill out the solid supporting cast as narrators and victims of Susan.
Buck Henry's biting script shows he has not lost his edge since his Graduate days. Director Van Zant's vision of a fin de siecle cross section of America is brutal and original. From those laboring for the American Dream to the bleak Lidsville existence of the teens Die burns with both nervous energy and tragic-comic farce. Accompanied by an all inclusive period music score Vant Zant's wide angle is both brazen and revealing from gaudy colored suburban drab sterility with hints of incest to tragic siding housing and an auto graveyard landscape that serves as a playground to the teens. Told in flash forward and back Van Zant's pace never lingers for a moment as it rapidly presents an in your face comic and tragic pastiche of dark Americana. Van Zant admirably expresses it with a bold visual flair keeping scenes lean and sharp that over a dozen years later still retain there power and energy. It is a vibrant piece of film making and a 90s classic.
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