July 21, 2003


posterRobin Tunney plays Zoe Adler, a misfit computer graphics designer who can't sit still. Early in the movie she is arrested for running down a police officer with her car while drunk. No one believes her when she explains that she didn't do it, that it was actually the scary stalker guy who had forced her to drive drunk and sent the car crashing into the poor cop. Her lawyer (played with flair by Nora Dunn) plans to stall the trial as long as possible and somehow gets her out of jail and into the "bracelet program" where she is under house arrest with a location tracking bracelet on her ankle to ensure she doesn't get away.

Whew! complicated setup.

This film mixes up a brew of events that range through horrifying, depressing, pathetic, hilarious, suspenseful, sexy, heart-warming, triumphant. The amazing thing is that in the process, writer/director Finn Taylor has managed to make a movie that isn't a big muddle. Watching it, I was completely transported into Zoe's world and was able to accept all that variety of experience as the normal course of her not-so-normal life. In short, it felt real. Examined intellectually, the story doesn't seem very realistic, but still, somehow the overall effect is believable.

A lot of that verisimilitude has to do with the performances turned in by Tunney and the always wonderful Tim Blake Nelson who plays the lonely police technician who services her tracking bracelet and falls in love with her.

The soundtrack of 70s/80s hits you haven't heard in awhile is integral to the plot (the songs are those played by Tunney's character and are the soundtrack of her fantasy life) and makes it all seem more real as well--not something you usually get from nostalgic soundtracks.

Finally, the movie is full of little visual quotes from other movies from Run Lola Run to The Shawshank Redemption.

The DVD has a couple of deleted scenes (the first of which is a quote from Tunney's role in Empire Records), there's also a making-of featurette and an audio commentary with Taylor, Tunney, and DP Barry Stone.

The only thing I don't like about the movie is that you run the risk of getting the title song stuck in your head in spite of its sparing use in the film. Small price to pay.

Posted by jeffy at July 21, 2003 11:28 PM

oh yeah! I saw this at the festival (last year?) and dug it! you buy the premise, you buy the bit.

Posted by: Anita Rowland at July 22, 2003 10:41 PM