After 2005’s Edmond, Stuck marks cult director Stuart Gordon’s second consecutive non-horror feature. Nonetheless, his latest has enough grimy, economical cinematography, brutal violence, and sights of squirting blood and tearing flesh accompanied by squishy noises to place him in comfortable B-movie terrain. Inspired by a true story made of pure tabloid-y tawdriness, Gordon’s film concerns Brandi (Mena Suvari), a retirement home worker who, after taking ecstasy at a nightclub with co-worker Tanya (Rukiya Bernard) and drug-dealing boyfriend Rashid (Russell Hornsby), drives home wasted and, while distracted with her cellphone, crashes into Tom (Stephen Rea), newly homeless thanks to downsizing. With Tom literally stuck in her windshield, Brandi panics and races home, where she parks the car in the garage and, without extricating her seriously injured party from the automobile, goes inside to have drug-enhanced sex with Rashid. The next morning, Brandi—fearful that the incident will hinder her shot at a promotion—shows up at work, though since Tom isn’t quite dead yet, complications soon arise that lead her to take increasingly psychotic measures. Gordon shoots his material’s descent into grotesqueness (of both a physical and ethical sort) with jagged briskness that amplifies his scenario’s mordant humor, which comes to the fore when Brandi bitch-slaps one of Rashid’s lovers and, shortly thereafter, emasculates her supposedly tough paramour with monstrous intimidation. Decked out in corn rows and orderly scrubs, Suvari smartly conveys Brandi’s transition from flustered self-interest to batshit insanity (“Why are you doing this to me?” she eventually shrieks at victimized Tom), while Rea effectively radiates no-nonsense perseverance in a role that requires him to spend considerable time wriggling his jammed body about in Brandi’s car. Fast, fierce and bleakly funny, Stuck gets in and gets out with a minimum of fuss, though if Gordon intended Brandi and company’s pathological selfishness to represent a larger cultural amorality and lack of culpability, he would have done well to include more than simply one throwaway jab at our commander-in-chief.
- 85 min
- Stuart Gordon
- John Strysik
- Stephen Rea, Mena Suvari, Russell Hornsby, Rukiya Bernard, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, Lionel Mark Smith, Wayne Robson
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