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No amount of stylistic flair can compensate for the hollowness of Ty Hodges‘ psychological thriller about a young man desperately attempting to rescue his kidnapped stripper girlfriend. Infusing its thin storyline with a video game/music video visual aesthetic and pretentious explorations of the boundaries between reality and fantasy, Charlie, Trevor and a Girl Savannah suffers from far more than its grammatically challenged title.
Structured around sessions between privileged slacker Trevor (Toby Hemingway) and his unctuous therapist (Eric Roberts, fulfilling his quota of appearing in at least one movie weekly), the confusing storyline involves Savannah’s supposed abduction at the hands of a pair of doltish thugs.
RELEASE DATE Nov 30, 1999
But was she kidnapped? Trevor doesn’t quite know for sure, since he experiences frequent nightmares and hallucinations, including one in which Savannah is dead. His hapless shrink is unable to decipher these visions despite his boast that “they don’t call me the doctor for nothing.”
The third titular character is Savannah’s best friend, Charlie (writer-director Hodges, generously affording himself plenty of screen time), a gun-toting, Shakespeare-quoting playwright who springs into action to help find the missing girl.
(Note to theater critics: Think twice before posting your next pan, because the playwright whose work you’re dismissing may well be packing heat.)
Among the other characters figuring in the convoluted proceedings are Trevor’s vengeful ex-lover, improbably named Genesis (Jackie Stewart), and a tattooed little boy sporting a Mohawk who’s assigned the task of holding Savannah at gunpoint.
The filmmaker states in the production notes that “it is a privilege to express yourself as an artist through cinema while being fearless to push the boundaries of classic cinema and filmmaking.”
In the immortal words of a certain screen character, “alrighty then.” In this case the boundaries are presumably pushed through an array of flashy video and editing tricks including freeze frames, onscreen graphics and split screens, with one sex scene featuring an interpolation of fireworks exploding. What, was no footage of a train entering a tunnel available?
It’s all a hopelessly confusing jumble, leaving the audience uncertain about what’s happening and what it’s supposed to mean. The lackluster performances provide little compensation, although Roberts, playing a shrink whom no person, sane or otherwise, would contemplate seeing, enjoyably chews the scenery.
Production: Sky 1 Productions
Cast: Ty Hodges, Eric Roberts, Toby Hemingway, Emily Meade, Brendan Dooling
Director-screenwriter: Ty Hodges
Producers: Ty Hodges, Matteo Tabib, Sasan Tabib
Executive producer: Sasan Tabib
Director of photography: Austin Schmidt
Production designer: T.V. Alexander
Editor: Kelly McCoy
Costume designer: Keri Doris
Composers: Hybrid, Flegz, Les Correa, Mohammad Ghanbarpour Ghouchani
Casting: Leah Butler Daniels
Not rated, 95 minutes
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