Click here for BC’s review:
Back in March of 2002 news hit like a firestorm about a 25-year-old woman named Chante Mallard who hit a man while driving under the influence and proceeded to drive home with the man still stuck in the windshield (alive). Director Stuart Gordon jumped on the story quickly and had a script developed with John Strysik. Five and a half years later STUCK would have it’s World Premiere at the Midnight Madness segment of the Toronto International Film Festival. How did it play out? It was about as exciting as the initial story, which is interesting for all of but two seconds.
I can’t say I was expecting anything spectacular, but I thought maybe there’d be something to give the story a much-needed lift. The screenplay was written in an odd fashion, as it appeared they tried to keep the characters and situations the same at the original situation, but made some weird decisions along the way. For example Chante Mallard was an African-American woman, in STUCK Mena Suvari plays Brandi who is slang-throwing Caucasian with cornrows and a habit of saying f-ck a lot. I found the character insulting and completely racist (obviously unintentionally), written almost as if this was John Strysik’s vision of the average African-American. Was it really necessary to make the black woman white and make her so low class?
Another problem with the film is the actual plot and development of the characters. Attempting to create an hour and half feature film based on one small event is a difficult task. The only truly interesting portion of the film is when Tom (Stephen Rea) is hit and Brandi drives to her house with him still alive in the windshield. The entire film is based on this moment and Stuart Gordon takes a lot of time to really give us an exciting collision (MATRIX meets Stuart Gordon, ha!) Beyond this moment is a thoughtless, bland, pointless thriller that lacks an immense amount of suspense.
Being that the entire film centers on Tom stuck in a windshield and trying to escape, you’d think there’d be some level of suspense – but there isn’t, not a single shred. Most of the problem came in the fact that I could give two sh-ts about both Tom and Brandi. One of the most important pieces to STUCK is making sure we want Tom to escape. All we knew was that Tom was having a bad day – a realllly bad day – and I’m supposed to care? I don’t know who he is, what he’s done or why I should care. So when our supposed hero is begging for help I just don’t care. Sure it sucks, but whatever.
Another boo boo was the choice to change the finale. Without giving anything away, the fate of our character(s) is(are) dramatically changed leaving us with yet another trite conclusion. There’s no resolution and no reason for the rhyme, just simply here’s a stupid low-class broad who hit a newly homeless, fell on hard times chump.
Like I said, I wasn’t expecting much, so I wasn’t overly disappointed… but I do expect better from the man behind RE-ANIMATOR and FROM BEYOND. Stuart Gordon’s STUCK felt like a rushed attempt to coin in on someone else’s tragedy; only they know what really happened. As I viewer I only wish Brandi hit a pothole and got a flat tire before this whole mess even happened.