From Jennifer Lynch (daughter of David Lynch) comes the 2008 film Surveillance, with David Lynch as executive producer.
The film stars Julia Ormond, Bill Pullman, Ryan Simpkins, Pell James, Cheri Oteri, French Stewart, Michael Ironside and Caroline Aaron.
First, potential viewers of this film should remember that this is in no way the same vein as David Lynch’s movies. With that being said, viewers of this film will experience tons of sheer mystery and violence.
Perhaps the most genius part of Surveillance is that there are so many different levels of evil present. No one we see is innocent; inhumanity thrives in the lives of all these characters. There are several scenes where our emotions are extremely stirred, our anger rising quickly, only to dissipate a few scenes later when the true morality of other characters begins to show. Who wasn’t pissed beyond belief when the cops abused that family, in front of their kids no less? Who wasn’t aggravated when the family dismissed the little girls pleas about the white truck down the road? And while this was a mere glimpse of greed and maliciousness that many probably overlooked, who wouldn’t think it a bit low that Bobbi made fun of the way the drug dealer died? All of these instances raise the point of whether we should eventually feel sympathy for these victims when they’re killed, or whether these were already bad people who just happened to stumble upon two people who trumped their immorality.
I thought the film was very well-cast, with Pullman and Ormond being excellent as crazed lovers, even beating out similar performances like in Natural Born Killers (also about two lovers on a killing spree in Nebraska/Wyoming.) The scene towards the conclusion was especially spine-tingling, seeing the killers gyrate while murdering the remaining victims (in a room decorated with deer décor no less- as in the people being murdered just for sport.)
In the end, they let the little girl go, which I respected immensely as she obviously was the wisest one out of the whole bunch. I would have felt somehow robbed if they murdered her too, as that would have defeated their whole persona of wanting people to be impressed by their killings and getting away with it.
The only downside to this film was my expectation of more mystery. While not all people may have figured it out (and even I thought there’d be a twist,) I noticed right away that something abnormal was going on with the FBI agents, from the second Bill Pullman’s character gave his lover a deviously romantic look when they exited the car and went into the police station. Yes, this could have just been two FBI agents in love, but I found that very suspicious in the film’s context.
My other woe was Cheri Oteri’s character. While I adore the comedian, I couldn’t take any line she said seriously, no matter how few lines there were. I respect her want to do more serious work, or if Lynch simply felt she was right for the role, but every expression on her face made me laugh, and that took away fragments from the most powerful scene in the movie (the quadruple car wreck.)
Overall, this is an enchanting and disturbing movie that will shake you to the core long after its completion. There is absolutely no humanity or mercy here. Enjoy.
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