This is apparently a remake of the 1976 movie of the same name (with Stacy Keach), so we might indeed wonder what Michael Winterbottom thought he was doing. At one point the main character remarks that conflicting forces are pulling him apart, so that one day he's jest going to split in two - and perhaps the movie itself is pulling in too many directions at once: (1) Sexploitation. Sadomasochism as titillating entertainment. Lots of women enjoy a good whuppin'? - bad call! (2) Serial killer profiling (John Douglas of the FBI) - violence escalates from "harmless" psychological sources, connected of course with sex. (3) A stock-in-trade thriller. Is this indeed the perfect crime? Will he get away with it? (4) Ambiguity and audience manipulation - are we supposed to sympathise with this thoroughly unlikeable character, when (inevitably) things start to go wrong (a twenty dollar bill turns up, etc). (5) Ironic social comment. Be polite, gentlemanly. Always call people sir and ma'am, except of course when you're bashing them to death. Yup, it's more cheap shots at the sanctimonious South, folks, Texas in this instance. (6) Never mind the plot, feel the authenticity. Period streets and storefronts, good. 1950s cars, great. Even a DC3 aircraft. But the plot does creak badly in places. If your plan includes killing someone, make sure they're dead. It's a great pity that no-one could come up with a satisfying ending - instead we get the same formula pyro-melodramatics that hundreds of movies and TV dramas have resorted to. Casey Affleck and the pathology he portrays have to carry too much of the film, but both are very convincing. There's a ghastly certainty that "there, but for the grace of my (sort of) normal genes, go I." If you like this movie, you'll probably like it a lot.
Totally Immoral, But You Gotta Luv It!
Reviewed by Lexuses71 for Machete at 2010-09-12 13:16:30
Saw it yesterday, it was off the chain! This is pure Robert Rodriguez at his best. We dug it, especially when Danny Trejo says (deadpan) to Alba "Machete don't text"! Yup, over the top violence, nudity, mean azz characters, but a more interesting plot that I expected. You have to watch this film with a certain 'detachment',knowing full well the 'shock & awe" factor will be high. Really glad at 66 Danny is getting his props. Fits him like a glove. Great cast, Fehey, DiNiro & Johnson were
total pricks & pricelessly chewing scenery. Cheech Marin was a hoot. Michelle Rodriguez was her usual bad azz self (does she ever play non-bad azz types?) looking good. Even Lindsey didn't bother me for a change with
the shot and mostly nude screentime she had. The heck with the reviewers who can't hang, go see this film.
Reviewed by thedevil for The Love Guru at 2009-04-29 21:33:08
The Toronto Maple Leafs haven't won the Stanley Cup since 1967, but I say for everyone who hasn't watched this atrocity that this film will be a larger curse on them than not winning the Cup. It is THAT bad...the only way it could have been worse is if they had Uwe Boll direct it. That's how bad it is.
It's hard not to like Drew Barrymore in this, as contrived and silly as the script it. It does remind one of some 80s classics like Pretty in Pink or Breakfast Club. Barrymore remembers her painful past as a dorky outcast high schooler, who can now re-do her past, as a 'cool girl', by posing as a new student at a high school to do an expose journalism story. It's hard to imagine Barrymore, with her elegance, playing 'dorky' but her performance is probably one of her best, I found myself rooting for her in the 'cliff-hanger' type finale.
Great Premise, Terrible Follow-Through
Reviewed by KHL for Awake at 2008-03-24 15:32:02
Anesthesia awareness is still debated among doctors, although the consensus is that it is possible, but to what extent? What could have been a great medical/psychological chiller turns out to be an hour's worth of corny romantic buildup, followed by a plot full of cookie-cut-out villains (where's the black mustache?). It doesn't help that Alba and Christiansen can't really act (as least in this flick). If you like medical thrillers, it's worth watching once, but try something a bit better like Extreme Measures, Coma or Anatomy.