Monday, 30 January 2012

Movie Review: Rage (2010)

RageBeing fairly new to the reviewing game, I was anxious to see what would be revealed from the first ever screener I had been sent. That screener came in the form of Christopher R. Witherspoon’s Rage. Written and Directed by Witherspoon, it appears to have an impressive level of pedigree. Judging by the numerous accolades attached to this film from various festivals, Rage has definitely impressed! 

A bit of background info informed me that Witherspoon has been involved at various levels in some impressive titles including Re-Animator, a personal favourite of mine. Despite having never heard of Witherspoon or of his previous attempt in the Directors chair, 2004’s drama “Middle Man”. After reading a lot of glowing reviews for Rage, I was definitely looking forward to giving it a whirl.

Rage tells the story of a seemingly average day in the life of Dennis Twist. He is happily married and appears to have his life sorted. A loving wife, a good job and a nice house in the suburbs of Portland but it isn’t long before the cracks begin to appear. It is on a routine excursion to the city that one small act which everyone has done at least once turns his day very sour indeed. After appearing to acquire a parking space at the expense of a mysterious, leather clad, Tinted helmet wearing Biker.

Michael Myers with a Crotch Rocket is probably the best way to describe the Biker! Reminiscent of a “Slab” from Doctor Who or something from the Zovirax adverts, said Biker begins a trail of retribution fit only for someone who had committed the most heinous of crimes! His almost infuriating excessiveness is unrelenting throughout the whole film. With an almost super-human feel to him, can “The Biker” ever be stopped?!
 
The Biker
What Witherspoon succeeds brilliantly in doing, is creating an extremely thrilling suspense ride perfectly complimented by a cast comprising of Rick Crawford (Dennis), Audrey Walker (Crystal) and Witherspoon himself donning the helmet to portray The Biker. Crawford’s character seems to take a nose dive towards the end, which ironically is the part of the film I wanted his adrenaline to be at peak capacity but hey ho. Walker eventually providing a very reasonable contrast to Crawford as Crystal musters up most of the bottle from the protagonists’ point of view.

As for the script, we forego most of the unrealistic absurdity that befouls so many low budget horror films. What we are given is an almost true to life account of daily conversations, albeit slightly underplayed by a few members of the cast, a slightly laboured delivery which left a lot to be desired. Sadly, or not depending on how you look at it, the realism dissipates towards the end as mindless gore prevails and we are treated to our first sight of blood! Personally, this was a welcome change of pace. Although the films' suspense was greatly enjoyed, all endings should have a bit of gore for the sake of gore! If, of course, it is tastefully done! Although it does take a great deal to shock me (Cannibal Holocaust is a good film to watch to desensitise yourself) the misses had to vacate the room for a certain bedroom scene! I will leave it at that!

Rage perfectly demonstrates what can be achieved with hard work, a carefully selected cast and a keen eye for a good shot which Witherspoon posses in spades. Some shots are so well done that you could be forgiven for assuming this was not a low budget horror flick. His attention to detail gives the overall appearance of Rage an extra professional touch and the depiction of the Biker set on the backdrop of the city makes the whole experience much more real. Not set in an abandoned hospital or in the middle of the woods somewhere, this is where people work and live but The Biker maintains his aggression with little to no regard for his own obedience of the law!
With huge influences and even a glittering reference, Steven Spielberg's Duel plays a big part in the production and direction of this film. However, it must be said that Jurassic Park is by no means a bad Spielberg film! That’s all I will say about that (You will have to watch the film to understand) but anyway, back to Rage.
 
With only a small number of shortcomings, Rage progresses extremely well, mixing in great scenery with amazing imagery. A very able cast go about their business with consummate ease and a script to match. Although The Biker’s ultimate motives seem somewhat trivial, his extreme reign of terror takes the film from sharp suspense to revenge gore without losing any of its atmosphere. If you get a chance to see this film, you should take it. Hopefully with a bit more of a push, Rage will be picked up and could find a general release sometime soon!

Year: 2010
Rage (2010) on IMDb
My Rating: 8

 


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