6.0/10
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22 user 3 critic

American Perfekt (1997)

Sandra meets a shrink on the way to picking up her sister at a desert town to continue to their mom. He decides by flipping a coin. The coin flipping gets psycho.

Director:

Paul Chart

Writer:

Paul Chart
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2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Amanda Plummer ... Sandra
Robert Forster ... Jake
David Thewlis ... Santini
Fairuza Balk ... Alice
Paul Sorvino ... Frank
Joanna Gleason ... Shirley
Geoffrey Lewis ... Willy
Chris Sarandon ... Sammy
Jay Patterson ... Bernie
Judson Mills ... Junior
Rutanya Alda ... Gloria
Paul Henry Paul Henry ... Pete / Trucker #1
Belinda Balaski ... Rita
Jack Breschard Jack Breschard ... Trucker #2
Nathan Le Grand ... Freddie
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Storyline

Criminal psychiatrist Jake Nyman is taking a much needed vacation from responsibility with an experimental road trip during which every decision will be made on a flip of a coin. Meanwhile Sandra Thomas, disenchanted professional, is en route to pick up her flunked out sister, Alice, at a cheap motel before continuing on to visit their ailing mother. After being forced off the road by a mysterious assailant however, Sandra is picked up by Jake, whose coin flipping amoral attitude quickly excites her own desire to break a few rules. Or worse. Jake and Sandra's romance is soon driven by chance acts of crime and kindness, all governed by the flip of a coin - at least until Sandra mysteriously disappears and Jake unwittingly picks up her suspicious sister, Alice ... Written by Filmfan

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for grisly violence, strong sexuality/nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This reteams David Thewlis and Fairuza Balk after the notoriously troubled The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996). See more »

Goofs

The Sheriff's Department car changes from a Ford Taurus to a Chevrolet Caprice. When driving to Bernie's, the car pulling off the main road is a Ford Taurus. In the next shot, the car pulling up the driveway is a Chevrolet Caprice. At the Utah border, the car is a Chevrolet Caprice. When the Sheriff's car crashes at the end of the film, it is a Ford Taurus. See more »

Crazy Credits

End credits run backwards See more »

Soundtracks

Lay It Down
Written by Michael Timmins
Performed by Cowboy Junkies
Courtesy of Geffen Records
By arrangement with Universal Music Special Markets
1996 By Paz Junk Music/ BMG Songs, Inc. (ASCAP)
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User Reviews

 
Absolutely FANTASTIC!!!
18 December 2000 | by flightoffancySee all my reviews

I'd heard so many different opinions about this movie. At first it sounded like just another psycho-killer road movie (although with a cast of some of the greatest actors around) but then it got chosen for the Cannes film festival and won a bunch of other 'serious' awards. Anyway, one night my mom and dad saw it at a festival and when they got home they were arguing like mad - my dad (who hates EVERYTHING) called it a masterpiece - my mom said it freaked her out and shouldn't have been made! After that I didn't know what to expect but I knew I had to see it. Well, tonight I did and oh my God, it turned me upside-down. I wouldn't go so far as to call 'American Perfekt' a masterpiece, but it's smart, funny, beautifully acted and directed, and has moments of such straight-faced hilariously chilling brilliance that it made me remember why I love movies. I won't try and explain the plot in detail but Amanda Plummer plays a woman lost in the desert after her car is driven off the road by a mysterious car. She gets picked up by a criminal psychiatrist and a strange romance develops between them based on making all their decisions on the flip of a coin. Plummer is better than I've seen her since 'The Fisher King' (and even more beautiful) and Robert Forster is AWESOME! Better even than 'Jackie Brown'. David Thewlis is alternately funny, creepy and downright sad. And watch out for Chris Sarandon, too, as a gentle Deputy to Paul Sorvino's gung-ho Sheriff - a great performance that reminds us why he got nominated for an Oscar once (Dog Day Afternoon). The gorgeous Fairuza Balk is also excellent in a really intense performance much more mature than the usual flashier stuff she gets asked to do. Yeah, 'American Perfekt' starts off slowly but only because it's lulling you into a false state of security while it's crawling under your skin. And writer/director Paul Chart pulls it off without resorting to being 'above' his audience ie: despite all the clever different layers to the film, you never feel like it's trying to prove how smart it is - also, everyone really looks like they're having fun. All in all, 'American Perfekt' isn't so much a psycho 'art film' as a really neat and original movie that's been 'artfully made'. Give it chance and don't be afraid to laugh at how nightmarish it becomes. A warning to the faint-hearted, however - although Chart keeps the sex and violence fairly low-key, it has a habit of coming out of nowhere and is presented in such a matter-of fact way that it WILL stay with you (just ask my mom). There's another great score from Simon boswell, too ('Shallow Grave', 'Trainspotting').

Now, where did I put that shovel ....?


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 September 1997 (Singapore) See more »

Also Known As:

American Perfekt See more »

Filming Locations:

Pearblossom, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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