Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Reel Thoughts: Stranger Danger

Listening to a close friend tell you about their relationship troubles is interesting because you care about them and it feels good helping them make the right decisions. But what if they make the same mistakes over and over again, and always make the worst choices? If they’re good friends, maybe you’ll stick by them and hope that they change. Watching film characters do the same thing is more infuriating than entertaining, and that is the major bummer about Scott Boswell’s debut feature The Stranger in Us, now available on DVD.

Anthony, played by Raphael Barker from Shortbus, is a small town guy who goes across country and moves in with Stephen, his supposed Mr. Right played by Scott Cox. Stephen is a pompous, abusive jerk, but Anthony spends most of the film suffering emotionally and physically, or complaining about his life with or without Stephen. Even meeting a sympathetic street hustler named Gavin (Adam Perez) doesn’t stop Anthony’s downward spiral as he gets into drugs and drinking.

The Stranger in Us has a confusing structure that copies (500) Days of Summer, jumping back and forth across a visible timeline at the bottom of the screen, but it doesn’t serve much purpose. Except for the handsome cast, there isn’t much reason to meet The Stranger in Us.

Review by Neil Cohen, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Phoenix's Echo Magazine.

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