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Struck then Stuck

that's gonna hurt in the morning

Such a confusing title. I mean, both of them make sense. I’ve overheard a lotta people calling Stuart Gordon’s new film “Struck” but it really, truly is Stuck.

If I were still living in Tronna, the quickest no-brainer for me would be to buy the Midnight Madness programme package. The films in that series are my cuppa and the audiences are a blast. Tuesday night reminded me of the midnight screening of The Descent at the Tower Theatre in SLC at Sundance ’06. I was a volunteer at that theatre and my shift ended as soon as we’d gotten everyone seated for that screening but I stuck (er…) around because I wanted to see it. I swear the guy who sat behind me musta left a stain on his chair. Man, he just screamed his head off throughout the entire film. He was as entertaining–and startling–as the film was! And a coupla nights ago at the Ryerson Theatre there was a very similar vibe as the audience screamed and moaned and laughed and cheered.  

As I’ve already mentioned, Stuck is based on a true story. In the Q&A after the screening (which, incidentally, was the first screening of the film that he’d attended with an audience and I hafta assume he was pleased with the reactions it got), when asked why he chose this story, Gordon claimed it was because reality could be much more horrific than anything you could imagine. He said that he and screenplay writer John Strysik kept pretty close to the truth for the first half of their script but then they decided they wanted to see the way the story shoulda turned out. (So you won’t be spoiled if you know that, in reality, Gregory Biggs–stuck in the windshield of Chante Mallard’s car–bled out in her garage, over a period of three days. Three days during which his life could’ve been saved. Dig on that a while…)

And Gordon plays it the way I’d hoped he would–with the blackest of humour leavening the gore and the grotesque inhumanity. This is helped along by some very effective and often darkly comic performances by Stephen Rea (“Tom”) and Mena Suvari (“Brandi”).

Like Romero’s film, Gordon’s pokes a sharp stick at the sometimes stunning self-absorption of modern North American society. I think his story draws more blood than Romero’s. And I don’t mean just in the fx department (although his film is definitely more uncomfortable to watch–f’r’instance, everyone was moaning and squirming in their seats when Tom tries to extricate himself from the windshield wiper… gahhhh). I mean, here we have what seem to be perfectly normal people who do unspeakably cruel things because to do otherwise would inconvenience themselves (Brandi might lose a promotion in the nursing home where she works, and her neighbours might be discovered as illegal immigrants).

I really loved this film. I suspect it will end up being my favourite screening from this year’s festival. It may end up being my favourite Stuart Gordon, film, too.

Oh. And it was all shot in Saint John, New Brunswick. Cool. 🙂

→ originally published 2007-09-12

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