6.1/10
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22 user 11 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
Reviews
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

Jake's Jaquar is wrecked in the scene where Santino runs them off the road, the front fender is badly damaged and in the subsequent scenes, the car is not wrecked. No dent is visible in front drivers fender. 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

 
An almost forgotten gem which is well worth revisiting
6 May 2012 | by cjmccrackenSee all my reviews

The 1990's were, for a time, a very exciting decade for cinema. Staggering out of the 80's with a coke hangover and indulgence fatigue, we experienced somewhat of a revolution in cinema. What was once ridiculously overblown and self-aggrandising became understated, simplified and strayed from the norm somewhat. We started referencing movies within our movies, we turned our attention to the exploitation cinema of the preceding decades and the film noir of the early half of the 20th century.

One of the sub-genres which grew substantially in popularity was the road movie. The likes of True Romance (1993), Natural Born Killers (1994), Thelma & Louise (1991) and Kalifornia (1993) popularised the concept of taking the actions out of the city and onto the highways. This gave the movies a sense of freedom and adventure which is of course, the very ideals which America was founded upon. They were, in the most part, pursuit and / or escape movies. The anti-heroes featured were usually on the run from something, be it the law or an unhappy lifestyle.

Slightly late to the dance was American Perfekt (1997), which features, upon reflection, some fascinating casting choices. Robert Forster, Fairuza Balk, David Thewlis, Amanda Plummer and Paul Sorvino all play their parts magnificently in this almost forgotten slice of oddball Americana.

Plummer plays Sandra Thomas, a woman who clearly hasn't managed to get her life completely together and who is driving across the desert to meet her sister Alice (Balk) who has absolutely no interest in getting hers together at all. After a near fatal crash, Sandra meets Jake Nyman (Forster) who helps her out as her car is practically totalled.

After the setup, we are thrust into a world of seedy motels and small town cops, of bar skanks and confidence tricksters (Thewlis is particularly slimy, repuslsive and wonderful in this, however, nothing will ever frighten me as much as his performance in 'Naked'). No one seems particularly trustworthy and this creates a Twin peaks feel to the movie in that it keeps you constantly guessing as to what the motives and true back stories of the characters. It was written and directed by Paul Chart, an artist who has done little else since, but if this is anything to go by, another offering would be graciously received.

The film spirals into a tense, dusty thriller which has both a charm and a quality that whilst being very much 'of the time', hold up exceptionally well fifteen years later. If you haven't yet had the pleasure of American Perfekt and enjoyed the aforementioned road movies, then this would be a great investment of a few hours.

Read more at zombiehamster.com


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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
See full technical specs »

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