Tuesday, September 21, 2010
AN AMERICAN CRIME (2007) by jeff
Directed By: Tommy O’Haver
Written By: Tommy O’Haver & Irene Turner
Cinematography By: Byron Shah
Editor: Melissa Kent
Cast: Ellen Page, Catherine Keener, Ari Gaynor, James Franco, Nick Searcy, Scout Taylor-Compton, Bradley Whitford, Jeremy Sumpter
I can see why this movie not have been the best reviewed. It is hard to watch and in the search for entertainment and wanting to know more information about a story by dramatizing it. While This is still a true story it is kind of like watching a dramatic torture porn story. I can’t pass judgement on the facts of the case but this story seems like the result of a mixture of a mentally unstable woman who was weak when it came to men finding the one way to get back at the world by taking out all her aggression on the few people who couldn’t fight back an innocent, add to the mixture her daughter’s lies to get revenge for a slight and seeing the results of what one accusation could get her soon anything that pissed her off in her constant jealousy of the girl lead to more torture and punishment that was under a false sense of protecting her daughter and family. In the end you have a travesty.
This story had been explored before in jack ketchum’s the girl next door while that film is good it is more sensationalistic and exploitive. Both involve kids from the neighborhood torturing and beating Sylvia thinking it was ok it was a game it was fun. And not seeing anything wrong with what they were doing since a adult allowed it it can’t be too wrong it’s for her own good to teach her a lesson. It is able to feel more of a complete work only because since it took more liberties with the story it could fill in the more emotional gaps and it seems to have a evil presence that comes out of nowhere where as in this film other then it having known actors.
It keeps you separated a little from reality you realize you are watching a story because an actor you know will come in and your like hey that’s Catherine keener from “Being John Malkovich” not the evil abuser of this story. Which is why horror filmmakers usually prefer non-stars they feel you get more emotionally involved in the story when you don’t know the actor because they know that you are thinking anything can happen to that character.
This film set’s itself apart by making you feel that not every character is evil. Even the most heinous ones the film gives them a sympathetic arc. Another difference is that in "The Girl Next Door" while there were very few girls doing the abuse and ruth seemed to have more boys she was abusive in that film out of petty jealousy. Here it is more out of a flase sense of protecting her kids. Also at least in this film the abuse is more implied then shown leaving you to have to dredge up in your imagination the abuse which is of no use in the hands of a inept filmmaker who doesn’t know what he is doing.
Good thing here you have a director with skill and talent. I’m comparing these two movies a lot because they deal with similar subject matter but this film distinguishes itself in it’s own way from the other one is not better then the other they are just different in there way of telling a story. The scary part is that you wonder what the future holds for all these children involved how it affected them for the future did they feel any guilt. Did it change them for the worse did they continue this behavior that they learned. We get a bit of that info but the full after effects we will never truly know. Just be prepared for a emotional disturbing story that you won’t be able to forget.