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2004
Rated: R for adult language, graphic violence, and sexual themes.
Genre: Drama Romance
Directed By: Toni Kalem
Running Time: 1:51
Review by: Felix Vasquez Jr.
Review Date: 12/15/05
DVD Features:
None.
If you like this, try: Secretary, Punch Drunk Love, Stateside, Nurse Betty, Harold & Maude

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A SLIPPING-DOWN LIFE

 

For what the film essentially lacks, it makes up for with two interesting performances from Lilli Taylor and Guy Pearce. Pierce is believable as the low grade rock star for the town who is a celebrity only within the confines of the town limits among his people, while Taylor really does pack a punch as the emotionally unstable woman who thinks she hears a message to her through his on-stage ranting and performing. Her act of lunacy or homage (in her eyes) elevates his career and she becomes his muse of a sorts, and seeks hope through this low grade rock star who may not be extremely talented but, to her, really means everything in a world where she has basically nothing.

Well, I have to say, whatever message the writers and director were attempting to convey to the audience, it just doesn't come off here. Everything else seems lost in the translation from the plot, to the symbolism, and the characters whom are probably some of the most uninteresting people I've ever seen. "A Slipping Down Life" is often times very meandering with zero pacing, and no really fascinating characters that make the story anything but interesting. The author who penned the original novel seems to have had their work stripped of its symbolism and allegories in exchange for the Hollywood byproduct, because there's never any real reason for what any of the characters do here. They never give a real reason why Drum sticks talks while singing to the audience, they never truly give a reason why they fell in love, they never fully tell us if Drumsticks married Evie out of convenience or love, and they never explain to us why Evie is such a nutcase.

They never explain the point of her cutting her forehead, either. Is it to draw attention to herself? To change her life's monotonous misery, to get the attention of Casey? Because she's a devoted fan? It makes no real sense. It becomes a major plot device, but then it's brushed in to the background in exchange for even more melodrama that just drags this movie on and on. The film is filled with these often gross and utterly annoying characters that never really serve any importance to the story other than posing as concepts for small town people. The character of Drumsticks is supposed to be a sort of enigmatic man who Evie finds beauty in, but we can never figure out why.

So, it ends up as a desperate girl seeking beauty in a low life. The story goes on and on without any true originality to it and becomes a manipulative junky romance with a climax that made no real sense at all. Is the climax representative of what she preferred to see, or what really happened? This film was on my DVR for literal months, and it seems my instincts were just right. "A Slipping-Down Life" is some kind of romance, but what kind, I can't really figure out. It throws out plot elements, and characters without any real delivery or point. It's a sloppy mess that I tried liking a lot, but could barely get there.

In spite of entertaining performances from Lilli Taylor who glows, and Guy Pearce who broods, "A Slipping-Down Life" is a meandering, rambling misfire hinting that there's much layers beneath its story and characters, but we never get to explore them.

 

 

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