Plot: What’s it about?
Reese Witherspoon is a young lady whose life is not exactly a fairy tale. Her mom is a prostitute, her step-father a sexually abusive drug addict. The area she lives in is slummy, with crime and poverty all around. Her mother gets busted by a sting operation, and she hitch-hikes around for awhile. She gets into the car with Keifer Sutherland, a shrink who tries to “help” her by listening to her stories about being abused. Actually, he is getting off on the stories, and makes a move on her, but she manages to shoot him in the face instead. It leaves him a bloody, forever changed mess, and lands Reese in a girl’s prison. But by sliding a small shank somewhere very private, she escapes and treks to her grandmother’s house. But Sutherland is always looking for revenge, and who knows when he might finally catch up to her.
This movie is basically a modern day retelling of Little Red Hiding Hood. The hype surrounding it at the Sundance and it’s limited theatrical release described it as such. It’s very easy to see why too, as the story follows the same lines as LRH, with a young girl trying to avoid the Big Bad Wolf on her way to her grandma’s house. But, there is no wood-cutter to help Reese, she’s on her own in this one. I think that is part of the modernization process, making her do it on her own, whether successful or not. The movie is very grim, giving us a deep, hard look at Reese’s world as a slum-filled carcass of waste and corruption, where even our Little Red Riding Hood is not above robbing, killing, and selling herself for advancement.
If you like dark, twisted movies, I’d check this one out, because it delivers. The landscape it paints contains no innocence at all, but a slimy world inhabited by selfish whores, abusers, and users. But that does not mean the movie is not good and entertaining, because it is, it’s just a little too dark for a wide audience. If you do like this one, be sure to give the commentary by Matthew Bright a listen, it’s a beauty, and reveals alot about the why’s of the movie. So, if you need a good reminder that things could be worse for you, take a trip down this Freeway, and maybe you’ll feel a little better about yourself.
Video: How does it look?
This print is rather grainy, but the movie seems like it fits, so maybe it’s meant to be that way. Very clear and crisp colors, and the blacks are very smooth and defined as well. The video transfer was THX approved, and it shows, as it blows the fossilictic VHS away.
Audio: How does it sound?
Again, the THX transfer made a lot of difference, but the overall volume is a tad low, which makes the dialogue sometimes hard to hear. The effects come through well, as does the music, but the speaking just gets drowned out at times.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Trailer, and a helluva commentary by Matthew Bright. This audio track is the best commentary I have heard yet on DVD, and is entertaining beyond all words. It is funny, and lets us see why he did certain small details. Also, he talks to the movie, which is pretty funny.