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Crime & Punishment In Suburbia: A Review by Nate Hill

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Crime & Punishment In Suburbia follows the theme and story just as loosely as you’d imagine by glancing at both title and poster. It’s It’s own little nasty deviation on the classic tale, set in a decadent white neighborhood, and full of characters who are barely hiding the decaying darkness behind their fake personalities. Having never read Dostoyefsky’s book myself, I can’t in fact tell you how much is different, but I could damn well know that it’s probably very much so. It concerns a hot young teen named Roseanne (Monica Keena, with a dash of Brittany Murphy in those eyes) who is outwardly a normal girl, but has elements in her life which start to taint that image and prompt violent behaviour. Her stepdad Fred (Michael Ironside, dialing up the drunken sleaze to a slow boil) is abusive towards her, and a alcoholic train wreck to boot. Her mother Maggie (Ellen Barkin in screeching cougar mode) is an unstable, clueless mess. Situations like that almost always end badly, which is an understatement here. One night when Fred gets too friendly with Roseanne, she snaps, something comes over her and Maggie and they both brutally murder him in an extended, grisly sequence that would give Oliver Stone bad dreams. From there on in its a dark and trashy morality play involving deception, false incarceration and manipulation on all the everyone’s part. The film seems to revel in the excessive bad behaviour of it’s characters, a decision which can be polarizing for audiences. It’s ugly, sleazy stuff, but it does that very well, with all the actors taking full advantage of the mean spirited script, especially Ironside and Barkin. Just don’t expect any pathos or straight arrow characters, this is a sociopath’s game, through and through.