6 May 2003 | bob the moo
Unpleasant trash that would like to think it is cool simply because it is `weird' or `different' but there is little of value here
Unfairly sentenced to 25 years for stealing and selling cocaine, Crystal (aka Whitegirl) is sent to a young offenders prison for girls before starting her sentence. She shares a cell with serial killer lesbian Cyclona who plans an escape. The pair break out and go on a cross country run - leaving a trail of bodies behind them. Eventually they find apparent safety in the arms of Sister Gomez in Mexico.
I was taken in by the title - it did not have the `Freeway 2' bit in the title when I saw it advertised. Other reviewers have called it weird and trippy and in that regard they are right. However to try and say that this is an enjoyable film simply because it is different is a bit too much for me. While this film may have the odd quality that is of value it has vastly more that is repugnant, puerile or just plain stupid. I'll admit that it is imaginative - but not necessarily in a good way - and that it is certainly different from other films you tend to see in your cinema (especially in this summer blockbuster season) but neither of these means it is a good film. It has moments that are passable and the actual core plot is OK (baring in mind that the core plot, when you strip it down, is Hansel & Gretel) but it is full of such ill-judged touches that all I remember is the bad stuff.
The film's tone is bad from the start - vomiting is watched with the sort of eye that feels like it is making something deliberately shocking - like a teenager trying to gross out his parents to get attention. A scene where girls pass a bucket around and vomit in it goes nowhere and seems only to exist for shock value. That the film continues with gory murders for no reason and intertwined sexual imagery just adds to the feeling of a director playing at being `dangerous and daring'. When Cyclona sits over two OAPs she has just butchered and masturbates with an handheld vibrator you know that this is not a film that wants to aspire beyond the gutter.
In fact the whole lesbian thing is played for shock and to attract late night TV surfers. The lesbian stuff is all mouth - teasing the audience. However those hoping for some depth in the relationship will be let down - as will those looking for a helping hand to fill those lonely nights, as the love scene is awful. Worse than this is the fact that the film has the repeated suggestion that `alternative sexuality's' are not normal but are caused by extreme situations. This suggestion is offensive - and I'm not reading too much into it. Cyclona equates her love of sex with murder and suffering, she is clearly abnormal and her sexuality is a major way that the film portrays her in this way. Later we find out that the reason she likes girls is simply because she was abused by men in her past - other girls in the prison have similar pasts. This may be the case sometimes but in this film it is the ONLY reason. Crystal makes this even worse by relating to Cyclona by saying she only dates black men because white men abused her - again relating anything that is not `the norm' to abuse as a causation factor.
Now at one point the film is moving as Cyclona discovers the degree of her abuse. That moved me. And to be fair the film could have been making a serious point by looking at abuse - but this is not that type of film and the crude brushstrokes that paint the characters (alternate sexuality's stem only from cases of abuse??) are dumb and insulting. Add this to the unrelenting flow of foul language, needlessly voyeuristic sex and violence and you have a real dog of a film. It all feels like the director was trying to be so different that he forgot to make structure or even a good film - he too seems to be under the illusion that a `different' film will sell simply because it is weird or different.
The casting continues this trend. Gallo is a total joke - a cross dressing nun-come-witch who speaks in a joke sing-song voice. His cross dressing bares no relevance to the film and again just seems like another ploy to make the film `different'. Lyonne is not very good in the lead - she rarely has any character to speak of and always has an attitude on her that makes it feel like she's only seconds away from saying `whateva'. María Celedonio is really good and is better than the film deserves - she is the sole reason for staying with the film. I admit that I'm biased as I was a little attracted to her looks (tattoos looked good on her thin arms) but she actually manages a good performance out of a shallow character. She brings emotion to the role in a way that is believable and is out of place here. Grier as Crystal's lawyer is funny but again his character is in it for shock value and to make the film `different' - the scene where he sits in a courthouse discussing a plea while his client furiously masturbates him is the height of the humour in the film.
Overall this has `cult appeal' written all over it and I think the director wanted that from the outset. I'm sure this will have tonnes of students loving it talking about how it is so dark, weird and different. However it really isn't any good. The film tires so hard to be `different' that it adds things all the time - but the end result is that it feels forced and trashy. I know other reviewers will hate on me for this review because it is one of my stronger ones - but honestly this film sets out to repel, why would I chose to ever watch this again?