Judge Alice Nelson has the song "Conjunction Junction" playing over and over in her head.
Our review of Junction (2008), published February 24th, 2010, is also available.
Life Lessons: Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach, and never ever plan a robbery high on meth.
Facts of the Case
David (Tom Pelphrey), Donald (Neal Bledsoe, Revolutionary Road), Kari (Summer Crockett Moore), and Spot (Harris Doran) are friends and meth addicts who break into a home looking for a flat screen TV, but instead find a secret that the homeowners would rather no one know anything about. What is uncovered brings back unpleasant memories for Donald in particular, and when the homeowners return mid-robbery, the once harmless addict turns into a brutal monster in a matter of moments. With Donald completely out of control, not only are the homeowners in danger, but so are Donald's friends.
Junction is a very strange film, but strange in a good way. When it ended I wasn't quite sure what I had experienced, I just knew I liked it—a lot. This story about four meth heads robbing a house to get a television set, then stumbling on to a disturbing secret, shouldn't have any moments of levity, but it does. Writer/director Tony Glazer manages to successfully mesh his film's offbeat sense of humor with the serious subject of drug addiction—and he makes it all look completely plausible.
In one humorous scene, Spot takes offense at something Donald says and lunges at him from the backseat. David steps in to try and break up the melee, which becomes pretty heated until all three men fall into a coughing fit, thus ending the fight even before it really got started. It's a hilarious moment that has this classic comedy feel to it, yet underneath there's a tragic quality because these young men have obviously done some major damage to their bodies with their excessive drug use. This scene above all is a testament to the film's ability to make us laugh while at the same time showing us the serious nature of the character's lives.
Junction is almost like two films in one; the first 1/3 is where most of the funny happens and where we get to know a bit about each of these characters, while the final 2/3 is a dark and gritty hostage thriller. As they drive around in a rundown car believing that breaking and entering someone's home is a good plan, the different personalities begin to take shape. David and Donald are old friends, and David is a lot like the caretaker of Donald, a nice but slightly dimwitted young man with childlike qualities. Kari and Spot are boyfriend and girlfriend, but Spot doesn't realize that Kari and David have eyes for each other.
The writing is fantastic, with dialogue that sounds like real conversations under extraordinary circumstances. The performances are all top notch, and these mostly unknown actors are genuine talents who bring to life Glazer's rich characterizations.Tom Pelphrey's (David) laid back acting style is the perfect match for the guy who has so much potential, but chooses to live this dead end life. Summer Crockett Moore not only does a great job as Kari, but she is also one of the films' producers. The hot head of the group is Spot, who is nicely portrayed by Harris Doran. His character is constantly irritated, and that anger is often aimed at poor Donald.
But the standout performance goes to—may I have the envelope please—Neal Bledsoe as Daniel. At first he appears to be a halfwit who barely possesses enough skill to tie his own shoes, however, Donald is using that façade as well as the drugs to hide a painful secret of his own. Once the homeowner's secret is revealed, the tables quickly turn and Donald unleashes a rage that has been suppressed for so long even his friends aren't safe. We see a whole new man, one that you don't want to mess with, and it's amazing to watch as Bledsoe turns that switch from docile one moment to absolutely frightening the next.
In smaller, but by no means less significant performances, are Anthony Ruivivar as Tai, who manages to be both comic relief and deadly drug dealer all at the same time. David Zayas (Dexter) and Michael O'Keefe (Caddyshack) play the police officers charged with ending the break-in turned hostage standoff, and it shouldn't be surprising that these veterans give solid performances. Anthony Rapp (A Beautiful Mind) is the unlucky homeowner, Connor, who arrives at the wrong time and becomes the focus of Donald's rage. And finally there's Sharon Maguire who is wonderful as Connor's conniving wife, Jennifer. Each character has a crucial role to play in Glazer's story, and every one of them delivers.
Junction is a 1.85:1 widescreen presentation with a muted color palette and crisp images. The Dolby 5.1 audio's dialogue is easy to hear, and is accompanied by a wonderfully haunting score by Austin Wintory. His soundtrack does a great job of setting the mood for Junction. Special features include an in depth 'Making of' featurette, where we get to hear from some of the films' stars as well as writer/director Tony Glazer, who give a very interesting insight on this exceptional little movie.
Junction is a unique film from an industry that seems to have lost its way. A quirky, and at times violent, story about the choices we make and how those bad decisions can take over our lives with extremely damaging results.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Grand Entertainment
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