Judge Alice Nelson once sentenced a man to return to high school for six months, the Supreme Court said it was cruel and unusual punishment.
And I thought my high school experience was a bad one.
Facts of the Case
High school senior Shannon (Shoshana Bush) throws what looks to be the house party of the year while her parents are out of town. Things are going along as planned until her good friend Kimberly (Heather Hemmons The Dukes of Hazzard) says she was raped by another classmate named Dylan (Josh Janowicz Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle); he of the dark hair, dark clothes, loner type. When Shannon, Kimberly, and their friends confront Dylan, things spiral out of control, leaving the young man dead on Shannon's kitchen floor. Now these friends must make a decision that will decide all their futures.
I really felt very little in regards to the film Complicity, it isn't bad mind you, but when it was over it left no discernible impression on my psyche whatsoever. I call these kinds of films 'Meh' movies; ones you don't remember ever having seen until you're midway through them the second time around.
There are some good performances from this group of twenty-something actors who convincingly portray narcissistic high school students. (Are there any other kind?) But a key element is missing—there's no emotional connection to the characters. These kids work each other into a frenzy over an accusation made against Dylan, with no real proof he had done anything, and all I could do is watch with a cool detachment, unable to invest any feelings into events that should stir some kind of reaction in me. Watching Hemmons portrayal of Kimberly was the closest I got to feeling anything. She was easy to dislike though, a conceited and selfish girl who may have made up the whole story, but even this only stirs up a lukewarm animosity in me.
The first 25 minutes of C.B. Harding's script is an intriguing drama, we get a small sense of who these kids are in spite of each one being nothing more than a traditional high school stereotype. Shannon is the poor little rich girl, whose most serious problem—before this night of course—is the fact that she has to go to mummy's alma mater after graduation. Kimberly is the resident slut, a girl who thinks little of herself so she gives away her jewels to anyone who pays attention to her. The jocks are Kurt, the quarterback whose love from daddy only comes when he wins, and Dwayne, his good buddy, the big jovial black lineman who tries to keep the peace. Then there's goth girl Lacy, who had an intimate relationship with the dead boy Dylan, and now regrets how she ended things. And of course there's a sexually ambiguous teen named Micah, a fabulously stylish and androgynous young man, who is treated like another girlfriend by his good buddies Shannon and Kimberly. They all came off as paint-by-numbers high school kids taken from a million other similar films.
There's a fine cameo in Complicity by actress Sean Young (Blade Runner), who plays Dylan's high school counselor, Cynthia Tapple. Early in the film Dylan meets with her because she wants to talk with him about his plummeting grades. She's worried about the once straight A student who is now in a complete free fall. Her role is a small one, but an important one because it gives us an insight into where Dylan's head was before the night of that fateful party. Really this interchange almost seems out of place in a film that's more thriller than drama, but it elicits more of a reaction in me than any other scene in the movie.
There's nothing wrong with the visuals of this DVD release, it is a crisp 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation, with vivid colors and clear images. The Dolby 5.1 surround has a clean sound, bolstered by Greg Ives' score. There are no extras included in this bare bones release from Inception Media Group.
At times Complicity captures the pain and loneliness of those awkward high school years, but there just isn't enough of a connection with the characters to make this the truly wonderful film it has the potential to be.
Folks, what we have here is a hung jury.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Inception Media Group
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