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 Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Advertisement
Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

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.