26 June 2006 | sexytail
Boll is the wrong man to teach this "lesson"
In Uwe Boll's commentary on the DVD of "Alone in the Dark" he brags about how Ron Howard liked "Heart of America". I really have to wonder what Ron was thinking. Some might think of this film as bold for taking on the hot topic of school shootings, but others (including me) think of it as a travesty for badly dramatizing it. It is an intriguing, important topic, but I've never seen a film successfully tackle it (No, I'm not a fan of "Elephant"). I was in high school when most of the school shootings were happening, so I feel a kind of connection to the subject.
This film follows various high school kids through their last day of school. We cut between various pre-class conversations in cars, bedrooms, offices, etc. For every character there's a clearly (and mechanically) laid out conflict. Among them are a student who deals drugs, a couple of students who's relationship is ending, a tweaker student, a group of bullies, a teacher who is overly harsh on his students, and the two misfit kids planning the shooting. There are lots and lots of flashbacks (in black and white) explaining how things got this way for the misfit kids.
Clint Howard shows up as one of the shooter kids' emotionally abusive father. Jurgen Prochnow plays the school principal. And for no reason at all, Michael Pare appears as the teacher in a performance that reminds us all why he's on the celebrity Z list. None of these characters seem all that convincing and the dialog comes straight from an after school special (plus swearing, of course). The writers don't realty seem to understand their teenage subjects, resulting in the same major problem as "Elephant": you don't really come to care about the characters. Flimsy plot combined with irritating characters does not result in a compelling film.
This subject deserved a much better treatment. However, this is probably the height of schlock director Uwe Boll's career. The characters are irritating, and some of them you wouldn't mind seeing killed, but that's more than you can say for "House of the Dead" or "Alone in the Dark". That said, it is a tedious, insultingly dumb movie which I doubt anyone could benefit from watching.