Monday, October 09, 2006

Extremities (1986)


Farrah Fawcett
James Russo

I was ransacking the old VHS at work, bypassing such winning titles as Beach Party with Kato Kaelin, Career Opportunities and Meet The Applegates, when I happened upon Extremities starring Farrah Fawcett and James Russo. Flipping the box over, I read the synopsis, which I, in turn, will synopsize: Marjorie gets sexually assaulted, but manages to escape before the masked rapist can complete the act. She goes to the police but is told it is “his word against hers.” What a shock, the police are no help. Compounding matters, the perp swiped her wallet: he knows where she lives. And he returns to finish the job. But, Miss Marjorie manages to escape, again, and turns the tables on Joe, the rapist, placing him in the powerless position.

Having recently seen Hard Candy with Ellen Page, a fantastically acted and cleverly written film I absolutely hate and will never watch again, I can’t help but draw comparisons between the two plots, where the prey becomes predator. Ellen Page plays Haley, a young fourteen-year-old who gets lured via online to the house of a thirty-something photographer, and likely pedophile. But she has ulterior motives, including, but not limited to, torture, castration, computer fraud, safe cracking, and murder. This film, with its limited cast of two (for the most part), feels like a stage play. Extremities is based on an off-Broadway play.

After seeing the superb acting in Hard Candy, Extremities, I’m sorry to say, falls flat, coming off as a contrived, unconvincing movie. So, don’t bother with it. You can see the same idea, more skillfully executed by viewing Hard Candy.

Marjorie’s character, while she is being assaulted, forced to undress, and generally being placed in a psychologically stressful position, never sheds a tear, barely quivers, and is generally a stilted caricature of a rape victim. Very poorly acted. The rapist comes off as a 2-D villain, spouting forced lines with a cool, even keel like every villain without a conscience always sounds. Hard Candy, on the other hand, has a vast range of emotion in all the characters: anger, fear, sadness, remorse, happiness, sociopathic glee, and etc… A far superior movie all around.

View Trailer here:

1 comment:

Vladigogo said...

And yet the play Extremities still finds itself being produced a number of times over every year. In fact, Rollins did it just last year or the year before on the Main Stage and around ten years ago it was done on the Fred Stone.