American Perfekt * *
Director: Paul Chart.
Screenplay: Paul Chart.
Starring: Robert Forster, Fairuza Balk, Amanda Plummer, David Thewlis, Paul Sorvino, Joanna Gleason, Geoffrey Lewis, Chris Sarandon, Jay Patterson, Judson Mills.
This was one of those crime thrillers that came along in the wake of Quentin Tarantino’s emergence and tried to emulate his style for ‘cool’ violence. The only thing this has in common with Q.T. though, is Pulp Fiction’s Amanda Plummer and Jackie Brown’s Robert Forster in the cast. The rest pales in comparison and frankly, I don’t see much of a resemblance.
A young woman (Fairuza Balk) travelling through the desert on her way to meet her sister (Amanda Plummer) crosses paths with a psychotic physician (Robert Forster) who decides his actions on the flip of a coin.
When I seen this years ago, I was thoroughly entertained and thought it was a highly original and exciting film. On second viewing, it doesn’t quite stand up to scrutiny. The originality I thought it once had is basically taken from novelist Luke Reinhart’s “The Dice Man”. What is an intriguing premise is played out with such a lack of urgency that it becomes very tedious, very quickly. It picks up when Fairuza Balk arrives in town though and Forster’s psycho pychologist begins to reveal himself. However, he’s still a little tepid and despite a decent performance, he’s not nearly menacing enough. There are a few things worthy of admiration but it’s the pacing that’s all wrong, letting down a decent cast and missing an opportunity for genuine thrills.
A half baked psychological thriller that aims high but ultimately falls hard from it’s intended target.