Ardustry Home Entertainment // 2000 // 105 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Mitchell Hattaway (Retired) // September 16th, 2005
Life gets deadlier after dark.
Yeah, and this movie gets crappier as it goes along.
When his brother Justin drowns in the Thames, Carl Dawson (Matthew Rhys, Titus) travels to London to collect Justin's belongings. A cryptic message left on his brother's answering machine leads Carl to suspect Justin was in some sort of danger. Upon learning his brother was mixed up with dubious club owner Damian Kemp (Tim Curry, Congo), Carl teams up with Sunny (Sienna Guillory, Resident Evil: Apocalypse), Justin's former girlfriend, in a desperate attempt to discover the truth about his brother's death.
Sorted is slick and flashy, which is about all I can say in its favor, and I'm not even sure I'm saying that in its favor. What little plot there is could easily have been wrapped up in twenty minutes; the remainder of the running time is padded out with repetitious scenes in which the characters do Ecstasy, attend raves, and...well, come to think of it, that's about all they do. Granted, there is a scene in which Carl is taken to a hair salon by a transvestite club deejay named Martin (James Donovan, Ned), which is followed by a scene in which Martin steals some clothes for Carl, but this only eats up about three or four minutes. There is also a scene in which Carl goes to an elementary school with his brother's friend Tiffany (Fay Masterson, Paparazzi), but this scene is also rather short and serves no purpose other than to make Tiffany's final act in the film seem completely preposterous. There is a little bit of sex, but not enough to make a difference. Tiffany and a reluctant Carl get it on, but this is only so Sunny can walk in, catch them, and get pissed at Carl (seems Tiffany has a thing for getting it on with Sunny's squeezes; she also must be psychic, given that she knew Sunny would catch them in the act). Early in the movie there is a scene of Tiffany and two female partiers making out on a couch while Damian watches them, but the fun is spoiled when Tiffany suddenly develops a conscience and refuses to participate. Other than that, it's nothing more than one party after another for Carl and the rest of these uninteresting dullards.
As you have no doubt figured out by now, the real problem with Sorted is the script (written by Nick Villiers, from a story cooked up by director Alex Jovy), which seems unconcerned with consistency of tone, characters whose actions make any sense whatsoever, or even simple, basic storytelling. Is it supposed to be a hard-edged drama? Is it supposed to be a mystery? Is it supposed to be a black comedy? It is supposed to be an expose on the rave lifestyle? Whatever the intent, the film ends up being none of these things. Take Carl, for example. One minute he is dead set against doing drugs, and the next he's snorting coke in his car with Martin. What, did getting a haircut alter his personality that drastically? Then there's Tiffany. Remember what I mentioned about her excursion to the elementary school? While at the school she introduces Martin to the young son she was forced to give up for adoption. Tiffany, who gave birth to the boy when she was fifteen, desperately wants to get her son back. Okay, I'm willing to accept that. But if that is the case, why (spoiler alert!) does Tiffany commit suicide at the end? (I won't even bother to ask how she manages to walk five miles while slowly dying from a drug overdose.) The big mystery isn't much of a mystery at all. Come on, you take one look at the cast members and you can guess who the villain is. And what a villain! Curry smiles lecherously, quotes Shakespeare, and whacks people with his walking stick; I kept waiting for him to wax his mustache and tie Guillory to some train tracks, but, alas, it never came to be.
Jovy tries to cover up the lack of substance and logic by (in his mind, at least) pumping up the visuals. I suppose there's an audience for vomiting scenes shot from the inside of toilet bowls, but I'm not part of that audience (seeing the puke hit the camera doesn't do much for me). Nor did I care for the endless parade of slow motion shots of dancers jumping into the air while bathed in green light; that got old real quick. Paintings of dogs come to life during drug trips, the sight of which is unintentionally funny. Cars suddenly morph into puddles of water. Characters freeze in the middle of frames. In the end, though, all of Jovy's trickery is for naught. He can polish his movie all he wants, but it's still crap.
In spite of what he's given to do, Curry at least seems to be having a bit of fun with his role, hamming it up like my mom's Christmas Honeybaked. The same cannot be said of the rest of the cast, who, with the exception of Masterson, turn in stiff, flat performances. Masterson's character is all over the map, but she does what she can with the material, and I would definitely like to see more of her (and -- hubba, hubba -- I mean that in every way possible).
Okay, so let's move on to the technical stuff. The letterboxed transfer is rather dull and washed-out. It's apparent Jovy was going for a hot, stylized look, but that isn't well-represented here (especially his frequent use of reds, which too often come across as garish pinks). The 5.1 track contains almost no surround action, nor is there much in the way of low-end activity. I was expecting the rave scenes to be chock-full of loud, thumping, wall-to-wall music, but that certainly isn't the case. Some unintelligible dialogue is another problem, although missing what is being said isn't really much of a loss. The only extras are previews for a few other Ardustry releases. All in all, the presentation is almost as lifeless as the film itself. Not quite, but almost.
Alex Lovejoy has a long career directing music videos ahead of him. And I'm positive I don't mean that as a compliment.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Ardustry Home Entertainment
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 105 Minutes
Release Year: 2000
MPAA Rating: Rated R