13 August 2005 | Bogmeister
Marked for Destruction at Three PM
You sense you're in for something a bit different when you hear the ticking of the clock in the first few seconds of the movie - a countdown to a personal doomsday for Jerry Mitchell (Siemaszko), in charge of the high school bookstore and a writer for the school paper. He's assigned to write an article on the new kid, Buddy Revell (Tyson). Only Revell is no kid; he's a hulking mass of unstoppable destruction and patently psychotic. As mentioned beforehand in the picture, he's also a 'touch-freak' so when Mitchell makes the fatal error in the bathroom, it's so foolish of him, you might think he deserves his fate. But no one deserves the amount of psychological torture he endures for the next few hours. Does all this sound like a comedy? Probably not, but it is - a dark satire on high school comedies. And it works like crazy.
As you watch Mitchell spiral downward further and further into an abyss, you begin to wonder where he'll end up. His many efforts to free himself, involving school security, robbery, pay-offs, and teacher seduction, only further entangle him in a nightmarish situation, heightened by various hints of how bloody his beating will be. You slowly realize, as the clock ticks towards an inevitable showdown, that Mitchell will get no sympathy, even from his friends; it's a stunning depiction of how necessary is an individual's self-reliance and self-direction of their own destiny. The whole thing would've fallen apart if there hadn't been a showdown, if Mitchell managed to avoid the confrontation. But there is a Showdown, with all the spectacle of a Roman coliseum and the roar of crowds - it's an exciting climax. The funniest scene for me was Mitchell in the office of 'Voytek Dolinsky', the school's gestapo disciplinarian.