25 October 2000 | darkjosh
Overall effective, skewed teen guilt-trip flick
Crime and Punishment In Suburbia is just slightly above the normal teen character study of murder and guilt. It's bogged down by uneveness, some scenes feeling genuine and intriguing, others feeling as if they were lifted from the latest MTV video.
Crime and Punishment stars Monica Keena as a popular high school student dating jock boyfriend James Debello and yearned for by loner/outcast Vincent Kartheiser. Her parents' marriage (Ellen Barkin and Michael Ironside) is falling apart, and Keena is unwittingly caught in the middle of their violent breakup. After a altercation with her father, she decides to put him out of his misery.
The story is nothing new or groundbreaking, but the film is elevated by some genuinely disturbing scenes, as well as a few provocative performances. Ironside's pathetic father is a powerhouse of bitterness and brooding rage, and DeBello as the naive, dumb football player boyfriend eminates a tragic quality, bringing compassion to his character: this isn't the stereotypical dumb jock, it's just a young man trying to desperately grasp onto a situation he simply can't understand. These two performances bring the most strength to the film, overshadowing the sometimes cardboard performances by vengeful, doe-eyed daughter Keena and loner Kartheiser.
Crime and Punishment is no breath-taking thrill ride, nor is it a slow-paced potboiler. With an sometimes raw, indie feel to it but sometimes muddled script, it's certainly worth a look, if just for two terrific performances, one from veteran Ironside and the other from newcomer DeBello.
6 out of 10