19 February 2005 | arielisrafel
Dada meets Kafka meets Max Headroom
"Paranoia will destroy ya
" wrote the Kinks many years ago. The paranoia in this film
well, you'll have to watch the film yourself to see what happens. Step into a grim, surrealistic world (think Dada does Kafka) where strange, unexplained things are going on. A mysteriously empty box that keeps appearing on the doorstep of Simon (played by Jeremy Sisto, people dying under odd circumstances. Simon's world is dreary, dark, depressing and confusing. It is peopled by others who are as confused and zombie-like as he has becomeTrish, the cancer ward nurse (played by Deborah Unger), who uses kinky sex to make herself feel alive after being around so much death, the inventor (played by Udo Keir) of a weird robot head, the peculiar custodian played by Lance Hendricksen. Their souls are being sucked dry by a culture that demands that they perform, conform, consume. The only character with energy in this soulless atmosphere is the Neighbor, a sleazy director of S&M porn games, played by Bruce Payne with his customary intensity and nuance.( Why is he left out of the DVD credits?! His is the most memorable character. I second Brittmatt2005's excellent comments on the message board.).
Though unrelentingly grim, it is worth seeing more than once. This Kafkaesque film is textured, with many levels of meaning woven into the surrealistic package. There are many messages to be extracted---the dangers of amoral corporations out to control and out of control, the deadening effects of a conformist society, questioning of the extreme measures people will go to to feel alive in a dreary world (TV "Reality" shows, anyone?). By the end of the film, the mystery of the box is revealed. It is a trick that is, as Max Headroom once said, only "20 minutes into the future," a science fiction about to turn into science fact. Is this all a metaphor for what is going on now in our culture? See for yourself. This film, unlike the majority of sorry excuses for entertainment out there, will make you think.