8
Jan 09

Stuck In A Windscreen With You

FTPost a comment • 279 views

I wrote and posted this last June not thinking Stuck would get a release in the UK. Well it has. One screen (like New York and Chicago) and its well worth seeing. Or watching on DVD when it comes out in two weeks time. So I thought I would repost it.

Stuck may not get a theatrical release in the UK, bearing in mind that it only popped up in one screen in New York and Chicago. Which would be a pity: not because its the best film ever, but it at least tries to do something different. A ripped from the tabloids, based on a true story tale of a hit and run gone wrong (for which read WRONGER), Stuck is most interesting when you consider the genre it exists in. It is in many ways a survival horror film, with the gender and power roles reversed.

Mena Suvari plays a pleasant enough carehome nurse promised a new promotion. So she goes out and celebrates, and has a few too many drinks and drives home. Unfortunately she hits down on his luck homeless guy Stephen Rea. But she doesn’t stop. So far, so hit and run. She can’t believe her bad luck, she refuses to believe the reality of the situation. Which is Rea is stuck in her windscreen, glass spearing internal organs but as she discovers later, still very much alive. What follows is clearly not a portrait of ultimate evil, Suvari does a whole load of bad things but as she is the lone female we are compelled by the RULES OF THE CINEMA to slightly sympathize with her. We sympathize more with Rea, and the terrific sound design that squelches through his every move. You might think there is not much of a film in a man stuck in a domestic car in a domestic garage, but the film offers rays of hope to Rea for them to be dashed at every turn. So it is the most mundane of survival horror films – good versus evil is replaced by down and out versus a refusal to accept responsibility.

If it had been a young woman stuck in the windscreen, the film would make a lot more genre sense. Then the gender dynamics provide the power dynamics. Here the differential comes from social status. Suvari is pretty poor herself, but Rea is on the absolute skids. Her refusal to accept the situation is because it will scupper her promotion, possibly the most banal (and hence understandable) source of evil I’ve ever seen in a film. And this grounding both undermines the thrills whilst enhancing them. It feels like a very real situation, which garners our empathy. But in the end, how excited can you be about a film where a guy has to escape from a rickety old garage? Fun.

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