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Film Three Stars

There was a dichotomy from the very beginning of this film for me, Stuart Gordon is the writer and director of Re-Animator and so had me thinking that the film would be rough around the edges and rather blood soaked.

Then there was the fact that Mena Suravi and Stephen Rea were starring, and those two actors suggested that there would be something more interesting, less gore and splatter and more character based.

Stuck.jpgIt turned out that it was the latter, and indeed for someone who knows Stuart Gordon for the Re-Animator series I was very pleasantly surprised.

The beginning of the film introduces us to the two main characters played by Mena Suravi and Rea. One is just about to get a promotion at the nursing home and the other is struggling to get back on track after his company made him redundant.

It's clear that one is on the rise and the other on the fall, and life is throwing everything it can at Stephen Rea's character called Tom, bringing him further and further down.

As time progresses the characters come closer until fate ensures that they are stuck together and whatever they do they can't seem to break apart.

It's an interesting film that has a very powerful premise, the idea that in society today we just don't care about each other and despite people needing real help, no one really wants to, and would rather go about their everyday business focusing on their own problems.

Looking at the continuing fall of the character reveals that society just doesn't care, and every opportunity there is to help him from falling further downwards or helping him step back up is ignored by those who could help. They are either just doing their job without thinking of the person sitting in front of them, or more concerned about their lives and the people they know.

Underlying the film it's the continuing failure of society and individuals to reach out, understand, and connect with people on a personal level that really causes the decline of the characters. It's the continuing separation of individuals in daily life and the isolation of those whose luck is running out that is the real protagonist of the story, and not Brandi.

Saying that, most people just want to enjoy the film and not delve too deeply into the subtexts, and that's very easy with this film. It's entertaining as well as insightful and has some laughs as well as some terribly painful and horrific moments - there's one scene where Tom forcibly removes something stuck in his side, I'll avoid the details because seeing it unfold is something special.

However some of the character decisions and dialogue I found a little over the top and the story did go a little too far with the premise. It does then move from a thriller to more of a Gordon type film. That's not a bad thing though, for me it did stray a little too far away from what the beginning of the film was offering, but it's still an entertaining and interesting story.

Suravi and Rea are superb in it, and they really do bring a lot to the film with their performances. Rea's anguish and suffering coupled with the editing and effects made the entire audience squirm and wriggle as some of the more horrific scenes play out.

I did enjoy the film but I did feel that it could have had a lot more power and impact, particularly with the subtext of the film. Yet the performances and the story do have a lot to offer and you'll have a laugh and a squirm with a satisfying ending from a film that has something different to offer.

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Dead by Dawn 2008
UK IMDB Film Details



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