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W. Peter Iliff
Beirut, 1982: a young Palestinian refugee helps an Israeli fighter pilot escape from PLO captivity because he wants to visit his ancestral family home. En route through war-torn Lebanon their relationship develops into a close bond.
Abdallah El Akal,
A group of anthropology students take a road trip to the family ranch of one of them for a weekend of drinking and taking drugs, the latter under the pretense of researching ancient rituals. They run in trouble, however, because the brother that lives on the seemingly abandoned premises displays disturbing behavior in his search for a "bride" and a stranger named Delgado turns up to enact revenge for a misdeed in the past by one of the students.Written by
This film making adventure started more than 35 years ago when Peter Iliff and Rick Halsey attended the University of California, Santa Barbara. Iliff went on to become an extremely talented screenwriter (Point Break, Patriot Games) and Halsey spread his passion for the natural world as a biology teacher/writer. Every once and awhile, the two pals would drive up to Santa Barbara and stay at Halsey's land to write. The property has a large number of greenhouses that are slowly falling apart since they were taken out of prodction in 1980s. Both always thought the place would provide an excellent set for a movie. Then suddenly, November 2009, the time was right. Iliff and Halsey wrote their story, finished the screenplay, attracted the necessary capital, and rolled into action. By the end of August they were in pre-production. With their assembled cast of remarkably talented actors and dedicated crew, they started filming "Rites of Passage" on October 13. They wrapped November 17, 2010. See more »
THE FINAL RITES (aka RITES OF PASSAGE) is a very strange little movie. It involves a group of high school students who are being taught about esoteric Native American drugs by their slick teacher. One of the students has an elder brother who experiments with these narcotics, which turns him into a psychopath. Inevitably a group of the students go away for the weekend for a beach holiday and find themselves being menaced by all and sundry.
There's a definite sense here that the story was being made up as they went along. Certainly it seems to make little sense and by the end it's fallen apart entirely, so the "narrative" consists of characters killing each other off until only the final survivors are left. The first half of the film, which is the build up, is actually mildly enjoyable, so it's a pity that the it goes absolutely nowhere come the end.
Three famous faces are mixed up in this mess. Wes Bentley plays virtually the same likable loner/weirdo character as he did in American BEAUTY. Stephen Dorff shows up as a cool teacher who's down with the kids, and strips off to show his buff body when required. Then there's an almost unrecognisable Christian Slater, hilariously playing a demented psychopath who just wants to kill everybody. His interactions with a sock puppet bring to mind the PG Tips adverts in the UK starring Johnny Vegas and Monkey. It's all very silly and relatively bloodless, meaning there's not much here for the viewers.
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