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Rick (2003)
Review Rating:   Very Good  
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1 (NTSC)

November 9, 2004



Genre: Suspense  
An old acquaintance preys on a bruised executive's self-loathing, and coerces the poor sap into a murderous scheme, with dire consequences.  



Directed by:

Curtiss Clayton
Screenplay by: Daniel Handler
Music by: various
Produced by: Jim Czarnecki,  Ruth Charny,  Sofia Sondervan

Bill Pullman,  Aaron Standford,  Agnes Bruckner,  Emmanuelle Chriqui,  Dylan Baker,  Sandra Oh

Film Length: 94 mins Process/Ratio: 1.85:1
Colour Anamorphic DVD: Yes
Languages:   English (Dolby 5.1)
Special Features :  

5 Behind the Scenes Mini-Featurettes (10:06) / Photo Gallery (29) / Various DVD trailers

Comments :

In their brief interview segments (divided into five mini-featurettes), director/editor Curtiss Clayton and writer Daniel Handler make no bones about admitting "Rick" is based on Verdi Opera "Rigoletto," where a court jester's efforts to hide his beautiful daughter from the King are a lost cause. Transposed to modern times, the jester's a whipped, aging executive, forced to accept regular abuse from his twentysomething "Big Boss" while shielding his daughter from the boss' lecherous hands. A murder pact promises to correct things, until some awful twists provide for some great tension.

"Rick" has a straightforward narrative, but the included theatrical trailer reveals the distributor's apprehension in selling such a hard-toned film; the mix of unrelated images and text captions, set to a Christmas jingle, may have been designed to pique the audience's curiosity, but with no indication of the film's basic plot, the first campaign was a marketing blunder.

The video trailer from Sundance Home Entertainment fixes things a bit, and the inclusion of five mini-featurettes (with a 'Play All' option) provides some good background information into the script's inspired source material and music references. The other segments tackle the standardized portrait of the lead character, the film's unique exploitation of Art Deco architecture, the Remote Lounge nightclub set, and the film's moody visuals using digital video cameras.

To compensate for the featurette's brevity, a .PDF file adds more detailed press kit material, including a funny interview with director Curtiss, and bio material on Agnes Bruckner (TV's "24"), Aaron Standford (best known as Pyro in "X2"), cinematographer Lisa Rinzler ("Dead Presidents" and "Pollock"), and screenwriter Daniel Handler (author of the best-selling series "A Series of Unfortunate Events").

Recalling the classic anti-corporate film "A Shock to the System," "Rick" dispenses with broadly humorous dialogue and places its characters in some nasty (but acidly funny) situations. Highly recommended.

© 2004 Mark R. Hasan

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