Straightheads
CLOSURE
aka, STRAIGHTHEADS
. 2007
Director: Dan Reed

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



ClosureI picked up the cheesy British thriller Closure (2007) out of a lingering even if misguided fondness for Gillian Anderson, who X-Files notwithstanding has had cursed luck & terrible taste in selecting film roles.

I'm fond of no-budget female-vengeance films like Ms 45 (1981) or Dirty Weekend (1993), & am not foolish enough to expect too much from such a premise. I guess even so I expected more than this one provides.

Closure is the banal yet significantly improved US-release dvd title of the film shown in England as Straightheads. It was a good idea to have changed teh title, since who the hell knows what a straighthead is; even the British critics, who rightly hated the film, just wanted to know what in hell is a straighthead.

Straighhead is a crop disease in rice, lending no ironic meaning to the film of course, which intended a completely different meaning. It's a British gang term obscure even to gangs, indicating a person not involved in crime. Kinda like a muggles or a square, & about as good a title for a film as Muggles or The Squares.

When you know that, it's still hard to figure out what it has to do with the film, which is not about gangs but violence in a rural setting. It's like the screenwriter learned a new word & just had to use it even though lacking any sense of what context would be apropos.

English viewers right away lost their focus on the film itself, stuck trying to analyse whether the two victims are really supposed to be "straightheads." Therefore it was given a less brow-wrinkling title for the American release. But that hardly fixes the film, which had worse than a rousingly bad title among its burdens.

ClosureThe bland cinematography makes this look like a badly dated made-for-cable film. The acting is bland to match, & then there's the plot, using the term lightly.

Gillian is terrible at maintaining the British accent & she comes off a mite ridiculous vocally. She looks every minute her age on a high density screen.

She needed a role that could be acted, not one that assumes she's still a young hottie who just needs to soap up her boobs within a minute of the film starting in order to be interesting.

There's a sex scene that tries to make up for the fact that the first twenty minutes of this unthrilling thriller are a complete snooze. Advertised as a female revenge film, it wasn't like I was looking for something intelligent, so was not disappointed at how dumb the movie is. Yet I did have to heave a sigh of frustration, thinking, come on, come on, get to the bits that justify the vengeance.

Finally we get to the unpleasant bits with her boyfriend Adam (Danny Dyer) so badly beaten he loses an eye, victim of a gang of three brutal bastards on a dark country road. Then for good measure Gillian is dragged out in the woods & gang-raped until she's mince-meat between the legs. Misogynist fun for all film-lovin' wannabe rapists!

ClosureAfter that, one could only hope, maybe we can get to the good stuff, having just justified the revenge-fantasy to follow the fantasy of violent sex.

Unexpectedly, however, the film takes on some psychologically intriguing dimensions. Nothing deep or intelligent mind you, but given the lousiness of the thing so far, it's almost like the screenwriter finally got the hang of the writing & just never went back to improve or polish the beginning.

Mostly the film is artless, ugly, & dull, as well as impossible to believe. But for a fitful minute or two here & there, our two crazy avengers, Alice & Adam, manage to make something of it. And the three bastards they're out to kill are a little more complex than even the avengers expected.

The twist is that one of the bad guys has a teenage daughter (Francesca Fowler) who though unseen at the time was a witness to the crime. Her father (Anthony Calf) instigated the crime knowing that otherwise his two psychotic buddies Jago & Misha (Adam Rayner & Antony Byrne) were going to do harm to his daughter for sport.

Alice about half befriends the girl when the tragically miserable young woman is out looking for her only friend, the nice dog Alice killed, oh the guilt the guilt. We're kind of led to believe this will change the whole dimension of vengeance, seeing moral dilemmas like well looky there someone's going to be so lonely without that dog -- & knowing there's an innocent family member in the picture if the revenge continues. But no, the film's not that deep, & the vengeance proceeds without amendment.

[SPOILER ALERT!] The main revenge scene for Gillian is when she rapes one of her rapists -- the girl's father -- using a rifle muzzle rammed up the guy's ass while she screams hatred. There won't be anything before or after that which is as extreme, so I guess it's the climax. Afterward Alice has a hypocritical moral crisis & having rifle-buggered one man no longer feels the madness of desire to do injury to anyone else.

Adam, however, the follower & wimp of the story, has an equal change of nature in that he can't stop, not now that it's begun. He wants to kill all three men, whether or not Alice sticks around for the carnage.

Meanwhile Alice is back on the road hoping to put it all behind her, as in this fantasy world there's no chance that police will investigate any of it & put her in prison for a good long while. Instead, she picks up the teenage girl while beating a fast track out of there, & promises to take her along to "somewhere safe," meaning perhaps a hobbit village of Middle Earth, & at that moment this idiotic film is over. [END SPOILERS]



copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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