Crime Punishment In Suburbia

"Weak"

Crime Punishment In Suburbia Review


If you're seeking enlightenment on what you think would be a modern reverberation on the timeless Fyodor Dostoyevsky masterpiece, don't be misled by Crime + Punishment in Suburbia. While the film opens with a quotation from Crime and Punishment, which, I suppose, is intended to lead us to a new interpretation of the book, that's the only (tenuous) connection. In the novel, the protagonist, Raskolnikov, rebels against the morality imposed on him by a society and kills an innocent woman. He later discovers that the worst punishment for the murder was the one his guilty conscience made him to endure. And perhaps, if you concentrate hard enough, the suffering Raskolnikov could conceivably parallel that of a pudgy adolescent Roseanne (Monica Keena, ex of Dawson's Creek), one of the main characters in the movie.

Completed before American Beauty, this artificial little movie resembles it in every way possible, mainly because it examines the very same set of stereotypes about malfunctioning wealthy suburbanites. Vincent (Vincent Kartheiser), a sallow loner, follows Roseanne everywhere with his camera. Given the privilege to provide voice-over for most of the film, we hope that he is the voice of wisdom, or at least revelation in the story. Far from it: His philosophy is one of a self-possessed New Age spiritual guru who is convinced he can save Roseanne from hell she is living in. What Ricky was able to see with his lens in American Beauty revealed the hidden layers of human behavior. Vincent, by comparison, as well as the whole ensemble of characters in Crime + Punishment, goes through the plot's twists and turns without a single coherent thought in his head.

The genre of the film is familiar -- using the suburbs as an emotional terrain where the sense of unwholesomeness surrounds the surfaces of people's life and threatens their seemingly secure shelters. In Roseanne's family, we have a complete set of obvious characters: a psychopathic stepfather (Michael Ironside) with a face of a bulldog and a penchant for heavy drinking, a frustrated and suffering mother (Ellen Barkin), and a vacuous, popular little girl who dates a football player (James DeBello). What follows is supposed to be a tragedy of revelations, in which a gloomy loner Vincent will help Roseanne rediscover herself and alter her perception of the world forever. Supposed to be.

What attracted me the most in American Beauty was how punchy and derisive -- yet humane -- the film was. It carried a deep loss for the human connection, a charge that gave the film its integrity, the weight of reality. The humorless Crime + Punishment substitutes this depth with a slow motion camera, elaborate soundtrack, suggestive visual themes, and a stupid voice over.

To completely befuddle us, the film switches from Vincent's voice over to Roseanne's. In a chillingly dispassionate voice, she narrates from jail and says how much she enjoys her non-existence. "I killed somebody. I was sorry. It changed nothing." When freed, she follows Vincent as her savior and marvels, "What a strange path it took to find my heart." But first, you have had to believe that she even has one.



Crime   Punishment In Suburbia

Facts and Figures

Run time: 100 mins

In Theaters: Friday 25th August 2000

Box Office Worldwide: $26.4 thousand

Distributed by: MGM Home Entertainment

Production compaines: MGM

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 21%
Fresh: 6 Rotten: 23

IMDB: 5.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Roseanne Skolnick, as Maggie Skolnick, as Fred Skolnick, as Vincent, as Cecil, as Stuck Up Girl

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.