Bang, a film by Ash. It’s a tough one to find, but it’s a scrappy little treasure trove of a flick. It’s a guerrilla film in the sense that the filmmakers had no permits, schedule, a puny budget and a barebones script which is mostly hijacked by wicked improv thanks to the cast. This seat of the pants storytelling technique doesn’t exactly ensure a wide distribution of any efforts in marketing, but they managed to pull of one of the most galvanizing, unpredictable and emotional films of the 1990’s, as far as I’m concerned. On a bright sunny morning in Beverly Hills, a young Asian American actress (Darling Narita in an arresting, pulverizing debut performance) heads to a make it or break audition with a hotshot Hollywood producer (David Alan Graf), who turns out to be an outright scumbag rapist, leaving her distraught and afraid. Her only friend seems to be Adam (Peter Greene), a ra,bun riots and slightly unstable homeless man who valiantly defends her by trashing every garbage can on the block, handling the arrival of a motorcycle cop (Michael Newland) who chases our heroine down, and attempts to persuade her into sucking him off as an exit to vandalism charges. Her fuse reaches its end and all of a sudden she overpowers him, take his gun and clothes and assumes much feared mantle of the LAPD. From there on in its a surreal odyssey of crime, mistaken identity, personal awakening and a riveting exploration of what makes a person powerful, what it takes for a woman to gain respect in a cutthroat city where misogyny runs rampant and unchecked, and ultimately how a downtrodden individual can regain their footing through the most traumatizing of encounters. It’s like baptism by fire, only the fire comes from the end of the police issue handgun she never wanted, and the baptism from the death it’s deals out in the extreme circumstances she finds herself in because of what the uniform, the symbol, represents. Narita is a startling wonder, attacking each scene with renewed intuition and never missing a beat. Greene is a rare revelation; he almost always plays nasty psychos, and here is given a shot at the eccentric loony toons style character that would usually be given to to Jim Carrey or Robin Williams. He shows what a talent he is as everyone’s favourite livable bum, displaying a gift for improv and off the cuff performing. Narita and him have an unforced friendship that blossoms early, ebbing and flowing as both find a modicum of solace within each other’s company that is periodically broken and reunited. Watch for Lucy Liu as a reprehensible young hooker as well. Ebert sung this ones praises when it came out.. No one heard. I imagine because of its extremely indie nature. It’s worth seeking out for the important message it brands upon the viewer, it’s frank and very candid approach, and it’s rabbit hole glance at one woman in trouble, navigating a zone out of her depth in an unchosen guise. One of the best films of the 90’s.