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Once a promising writer, John Hayson now gets by on the odd writing job. A personal tragedy has left him dispassionate about the world and his work and he lives his life in limbo. In the midst of this existential crisis he attends a high school reunion and meets three old friends; acquaintances he's tried to forget but who now emerge like ominous shadows from his past. Once again, face to face with the love of his life, Hayson tries to right old wrongs and get his life back on track. However, life has other plans, and he realizes that the past is best laid to rest or it might haunt you forever. He soon finds himself embroiled in a nightmarish brew of deceit, passion and murder. Wanted by the police for a heinous killing, he must choose between succumbing to his darkest desires or the light that will renew his faith in himself and his future. Written by
I saw this film at it's world premier on the Stockholm International Film Festival 2004. It's a Swedish film made in English with (mostly) American actors, funded and produced in Sweden and (despite the New York-setting) mostly shot in Sweden as well. For me this was an incentive in seeing the film as i am always curious when it comes to Swedish film (even though it continually offers mostly disappointments).
The film is about a writer who has trouble with his inspiration ever since his loved one abandoned him for his school-time antagonist. Now there is a class reunion coming up and it seems he has a chance at getting her back, but nothing is what it seems and things soon spiral out of control.
Many times when i review films i think about what is actually worse: hating a film or feeling nothing at all about it. Because movies you loathe still had something that at least made you feel strongly about it one way or the other. Some films just don't have that, you don't really think they are that bad, but they're not really that good either. And Rancid is definitely one of those films.
Technically Rancid is well made. It's about as good looking a Swedish film as i have ever seen. The production values are high at the, in Hollywood terms, quite meager budget of $6 million. Among the cast there is one actor that really stands out. Matthew Settle really does a nice job in the lead and actually manages to lift the film a notch in my eyes.
The story is where i have a problem with this film. It simply doesn't grab a hold of you. I felt uninterested in most of the characters and their problems. Also the story felt rushed and some of the time spent with flowing overhead shots of New York could instead have been spent on making the script more cohesive. More background and more elaborated explanations on why the characters acted the way they did would have helped considerably. The way things happen now you can never really predict anyones actions, which is a bad thing since it makes the characters a lot less believable.
So is this bad? Not really. Is it good? Not really that either. This is simply one of those films that i don't feel very strongly about one way or the other. Watch it if you feel another "innocent-man-accused-of-murder"/cop-thriller is what you need. I rate it 4/10.
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