Raw and bizarre film about (I believe) extreme paranoia. Ashley Judd plays a lonely woman living in a tiny hotel in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere (Oklahoma). Aside from working as a waitress in a lesbian bar, she seems to do nothing but smoke pot, snort coke and lounge around. She is harassed and abused by her recently paroled ex-husband (played very convincingly by Harry Connick) and continues to lament the tragic disappearance of her son who was kidnapped some 10 years ago.
Enter Peter, a quiet and strange guy that Judd's friend R.C. brings home from the bar one night to get stoned with them. Judd and he strike up a weird relationship where he begins to explain that he is currently AWOL from the Army after coming to the conclusion that he was being experimented upon after serving in the first Gulf War. He subscribes to a number of insane ideas, not the least of which is his belief that there are minuscule aphids in his blood sending transmissions to "them". It's difficult to tell if Judd goes along with his crazy ideas simply out of loneliness and a desire to have someone around in her life or whether she truly believes him. Often Peter's theories could almost be plausible, if one were to discard logic and simply go with it (which is kind of scary in itself).
Either way, when his delusions start to become more real (yanking teeth out of his head for example) she begins to exhibit the same behaviors and the movie gets really freaky. He crushes the tooth and places it under a microscope, peers in and then hands it over to Judd who gasps and blurts out "millions!"
This is a unsettling movie boiling with tension and stress. It has some great visuals and very good use of color. Connick is a menacing presence and Michael Shannon (who played Peter in the play the film is based on) is outstanding. But know that this is not the kind of film that offers any easy answers or resolution and you won't leave feeling happy or relieved. It's never made very clear what is actually happening (though the straight ahead assessment that he's crazy and she was waiting for her cue is good enough for me) and it ends rather suddenly and startlingly with a few open ends. The performances are great and the dialogue is fantastic.
A long time ago I held a job working in a group home for mentally challenged men. One of the men suffered from schizophrenia and would often ramble on about nonsensical things that really only made sense if you were in the same mindset as he was . Occasionally he would have these jarring moments of clarity where he would speak and move like any other person you knew. It was very unsettling. That's the impression I get from this - creepy, weird and scary because I can't get a grip on it. Well played.
I rented this movie based on Complaint Department's sterling review. It was totally different than what I thought it was going to be. From the name and the trailers that I saw, I thought it was going to be a creature feature a la The Fly.
I too drew the same conclusion in regards to Ashley Judd's character although I think its the only one that fits. The scene where her character begins to hear helicopter blades whizzing in the air was the turning point and particularly telling.
This film was completely unnerving and became even more so as the end began to unravel. As the credits rolled, all I could say is 'wow'. Recommended indeed.
Cortez the Killer