American Perfekt (1997)
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It's well cast (almost perfekt, in fact) with the performers seeming to enjoy themselves in their roles. Angela Plummer & David Thewlis are no strangers to playing off-the-wall characters and excel as always, but it's Robert Forster who steals the film and shows along with his superb performance in "Jackie Brown" what an under-rated character actor he is.
If I've one criticism to make it's that when the characters are a little better revealed halfway through the film some of the tension dissipates a little but the plot keeps twisting and turning to the very end.
Worth a couple of hours of your time.
The cast is all star and very good performances are turned in by Balk, Plummer, Sorvino and Gleason, especially by Sorvino of the long suffering sheriff.
As a road picture/slice of life film, this excels. See it and note the verbal and nonverbal characteristics of the Forster character. This film is a winner at all levels.
Jake soon hooks up with Sandra's sister Alice, who is supposed to meet Sandra in a diner. Jake then has a few surprises in store for Alice. The film isn't very long, and doesn't out stay its welcome. A blackly humourous road movie that is well worth seeing. The film clearly has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek.
Now, where did I put that shovel ....?
However, the fact that it ends in such an unsatisfactory manner comes largely from how it gripped me up to that ending. This movie is saved by an utterly convincing turn from Fairuza Balk. Together with Robert Forster as a lunatic doctor obsessed with chance, she drags the movie out of the 'okay for a quick watch psycho-thriller' rut it was so obviously heading into without her.
As the sister of the doctor's last victim, who winds up riding cross county with him, all the while unaware of her sister's body shoved in his trunk, Balk is riveting. In all honesty I can't think of a movie off the top of my head she wasn't good in, and she saves the film.
However, in the event you don't enjoy the interplay between her and Forster, there may not be too much in this film for you. Also worth noting is the fact that Balk is not introduced until halfway through the movie, meaning that you could lose interest before she turns up.
Basically, I enjoyed this movie a lot once it got going, but the first half is really just setup, and pretty slow setup at that. However, the second half of the movie is very good, even if it does end in a way that doesn't really explain much of anything. This is a loosely plotted oddity that is saved by excellent turns from it's leads. If you watch without expecting miracles, I'm sure you'll have a good enough time with it.
Unfortunately this film never made it to theater here in Montreal and it is very hard to find. I am surprised to see that such a good movie couldn't get any distribution, but I guess that's the way the system work. So many good films don't make it while so many bad films gets released...
I hope it will be easier to see it on DVD. I recommend this film to whoever wants to watch an intelligent movie.
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.
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Plummer is weird and Balk is weirder, but neither as weird as David 'Professor Lupin' Thewlis as an awkwardly placed character who seems to exist just to jump into a scene and throw the mood off kilter. There's others running amok too, including Geoffrey Lewis, as well as Paul Sorvino and Chris Sarandon as a pair of state troopers who serve as comic relief. Forster is scary here, playing a guy who is psychologically hard to pin down or get a read on, and he's got some dynamite scenes with Balk in the third act, the two talents lighting up the frame. It's pretty far south of coherent though, mostly just these freaks terrorizing each other and engaging in puzzling romantic flings that only make sense to them, I suppose. If feverish, borderline abstract, sun-stroked neo noir is your thing, go for it. You can certainly do worse than spend a certifiably bonkers ninety minutes with this terrific bunch of actors.
Cinematographically, one might say that it is not particularly beautiful or anything, but I love to watch an 'old' '90s DVD much better than loads of all that new digital crap (not to say that there aren't any good movies made anymore, no sir). For this one, we begin at leaving Los Angeles, but most of the characters are from there, in any case leading man psychiatrist Jake Nyman is - what a character; it's an atypical role for Forster to play, but he does a fantastic job!
9 out of 10.
39 days in the Palmdale aria and 6 for the wrap. I miss them all.Included were the pooI side chats with Ivan .I last met him at the Russian knights film festival.. If you look real hard you may have a quick glimpse of me in the barn. I would have gave more to the vote If the edit was a little different and that the scenes shot that were not included over the top cop chase scenes with Paul Sorvino.
Unfortunitaly I found the movie to be dull. I couldn't get interested in the characters. I couldn't get interested in the story which seemed to meander nowhere.
After watching this movie for an hour I turned it off. I will rate the movie 4 out of 10. This falls well below the mandatory 7 rating that makes a movie worthwhile to watch.
The film is not much good and all the actors and actresses are wooden (just like a stick, which would be a suitable replacement), Fairuza Balk is superb!
A Film Of Chances and percentage, apart from balk there is 0% chance anything in it is worth seeing, For Fairuza fans and people who have watched all their other videos.
Balk Rules, Film Stinks/** out of ****
Crazy film from beginning to end and having it so close to my home area was so interesting. Loved it and if you like weird you should watch it.
Robert Forster was great and some of what he played in shocked me. He is a really nice man to give you a autographed picture for my mom who just loved him.
I personally was to shy to go out and meet Amanda but loved watching all the filming.
Need 10 lines of text so here's #6.................................. Need 10 lines of text so here's #7...................................... Need 10 lines of text so here's #8.................................... Need 10 lines of text so here's #9..................................... What a dumb requirement.................................................