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Cameron Van Hoy,
On the day of the Republican National Convention, radio show host Joe Pace joins the rallies, protests, delegates and citizens of NYC. Broadcasting his last show live, on-the-air, he goes on a one man march for free speech.
Newly arrived in an up-market housing development, quiet ten-year-old Devon doesn't quite fit in. Ignoring the urgings of her social-climbing father, Devon chooses the company of Trent, who mows the estate's lawns, rather than of the girls her own age. Their friendship grows during her visits to his trailer home, but although it is completely innocent it is obvious that it would be unacceptable to the residents if they found out. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <email@example.com>
Devon refers to Baba Yaga as "he" several times and describes the character as having chicken legs, however, in Russian fairy tales/folklore Baba Yaga is an old woman and gets around by flying in a mortar and pestle, it is her house that runs about on chicken legs. See more »
Once upon a time, in a far off land, lived a girl and her mother and father. Their village was surrounded by a high wall. Outside the wall was the forest, home of Baba Yaga, the witch. Baba Yaga had iron teeth like three trees. His legs were like chicken legs, and he ate little girls for dinner. But inside the wall we were safe.
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I first saw this film on late night BBC in England and was half watching it while packing for college. By the half way mark, i was sucked in and couldn't not watch.
The first thing that will knock you out is Sam Rockwell. Over the last few years he has risen in fame due to high-profile parts in Charlie's Angels, The Green Mile and Mamet's Heist, but here is the arrival of a veritable acting talent. His is a simple, truthful unshowy performance that resonates throughout the film without crushing it. He is the film's heart, rather than a scene-stealer. As we learn more about his poor, white-trash lawn cutter, we sympathise and begin to realise how easily the reactions of others higher up on the food chain conspire to create chaos for him.
I won't give too much about the story away, because it frequently heads off in new, interesting directions, but essentially this is the story of Devon (newcomer child actor Mischa Barton) and the above mentioned Trent (Rockwell) and their relationship. He is poor, she comes from wealthy stock, but feels out of place in her materialistic world and they are both children of nature. What makes it compelling is that she knows this and revels in it and Trent has to be shown, by her.
John Duigan does a wonderful job of introducing strands and themes which at first seem offbeat and peculiar but which all add to the sense prejudice, division and isolation felt by these two brillaintly-wrought characters. Each find the other intriguing but are hesitant to become close because of others' values. Eventually they become friends and just as they accept this, the world around them turns on them and what started out as an irreverent comedy-drama, turns into something much darker and even terrifying.
Where the film goes from there, I will leave to you to discover. Please do, because this is a very unique film in American independent cinema. Much like the more high-profile American Beauty, what at first seems like character cliche and predictability rapidly leads you down the path least expected. Its beautifully shot, making full use of a handful of gorgeous locations, wonderfully acted, particularly by Barton and Rockwell, but also by the ever-reliably sleazy Christopher Mcdonald (Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore and Louise's husband in Thelma & Louise), the quietly strong Kathleen Quinlan and the lesser spotted Bruce McGill in one of his best roles as security guard Nash. The music is also peerless, at first playful and calm, building to a dramatic climax.
That climax is what makes this film stand head and shoulders above the rest. An emotional pay-off such as you have never seen in a film of this ilk. 9/10
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