5 Stars
Year Released: 2001
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 9 minutes
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The plot for “Dear XXX” is an apparently simple one. An unnamed young man, worn down and repulsed by the world around him, chooses to isolate himself completely within the confines of his suburban house. He has only himself, his record collection, and his typewriter for entertainment. Admittedly, given our modern world’s harsh and chaotic images inescapably brought home to us at all hours by our cable televisions, Internet connections, and cellular phones, it is not hard to understand the protagonist’s desire for a life less intrusive. But, is this a simple plot? No, not even close.
It has been said that you know a movie is good if you’re still thinking about it long after it has ended. Here, “Dear XXX” does not disappoint. Much can be made of the unnamed man’s journey into isolation. Similar complex themes dealing with enlightenment are explored by many diverse works. For example, we have the heroes in both Henry David Thoreau’s Walden and Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra who retreat into the woods in search of their purpose, while The New Testament’s Jesus Christ ventures into the desert to find his. If you do get a chance to see this film, many such themes will echo in your head for days later as you try to discern the true message and intentions of the filmmakers. Keep in mind that “Dear XXX” will disturb you. But, it will disturb you because it challenges you, not because it is trying for a cheap thrill.
Part information age adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s Notes from the Underground and part exploration of musical ritual, “Dear XXX” is well thought out and beautifully executed. Aided by Greg Braun’s haunting performance and Strictly Ballroom’s soundtrack, “Dear XXX” achieves in 9 minutes what few films can in ninety. Substance and depth.

Posted on March 22, 2003 in Reviews by

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