Year Released: 2001
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 80 minutes
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Well here’s one film that’s in no hurry to reveal what it’s about. Whatever it is though, it may not be quite what you think. When we first see Nicole (Amy Shelton-White), she is sitting in the shadows, drinking, looking dispassionately off-camera, presumably in the direction where we can hear a man’s muffled screams. To find out how she came to be here, Gamazon then cuts back in time to the point where Nicole’s journey began. There, we find her slowly awakening far from the road in the middle of nowhere. Shoeless, she makes her way back into Los Angeles. Arriving at a house, she finds the hidden keys and lets herself in. Hearing loud music and a couple having sex in another room, she finds some food and leaves. From there she eventually reaches home and enters a deep, paralyzing depression. Throughout the first 20 minutes, the only dialogue heard is a couple of phone messages and two words from Nicole. From that point on, we slowly find out how her world has been destroyed.
Nicole had awoken from an ordeal where she had been drugged, raped, and then dumped in the desert. Not long before that, her parents had died. The guy heard having sex in the first house was her boyfriend. Now this girl has some issues. She also finds herself quite alone, and alone is how she’ll overcome her recent history. Unfortunately, the methods chosen here to achieve female empowerment are more than a little disturbing. As a result, the ending of Nicole’s story will be a major surprise for here, but probably nothing compared to the shock felt by the audience.
The meaning of Gamazon’s film would be a lot more inscrutable if he hadn’t used an interesting narrative device. Throughout the movie, the director inserts quotes from philosophers and such pertaining to the world, women, and the human race. The quotes usually take the form of a law, like “Murphy’s Law”. The effect is both commentary on current action time and foreshadowing for what comes later. Near the end you have to wonder what to expect from a quote like, “Freud’s 1st Law: The only unnatural sexual behavior is none at all.” The obvious answer would be “Freud’s 2nd Law”, but this film isn’t about to state anything so obvious.
Still, you have to believe this is what the film is supposed to be about. As I could find no reference to “Freud’s 2nd Law” anywhere on the web, I’ll just have to guess. This is a strange little picture. There are a couple of distinct shifts in tone, when we find how Nicole is channeling her pain and again when she must address the repercussions. Gamazon may not yet have the expertise to confidently navigate these turns, but I’ll give him points for attempting something this difficult on the underground level. This is a decent movie that actually has meaning. If that meaning is actually “Freud’s 2nd Law”, I have no idea. I’m sure someone will take the time to tell me. Till then, furtive searching of Freud sites have produced one quotation that seems appropriate. As Sigmund once said, “from error to error, one discovers the entire truth.”
Posted on April 19, 2001 in Reviews by Ron Wells
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