Eye For Film >> Movies >> Girls Town (1996) Film Review
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
Improvisation is a hard one. What you gain in naturalism, you lose in plot stucture. Cinema verite died as a concept, because it became too boring. Art and life ARE different. Try taping ordinary conversation. It's a mess.
Jim McKay's movie has been made for nothing in less than two weeks, although the workshops and preparation and script development took months. The result is rough to touch, as if inside every woman is a man - an angry man.
Three high school seniors are momentarily traumatised when one of their best friends commits suicide. They discover that she was raped while working a summer job on a magazine. Emma (Anna Grace) admits she was raped too, by the school stud. Patti (Lili Taylor), who has a child, and Angela (Bruklin Harris), who is black, decide revenge is in order. They vandalise the stud's fancy car and go on the rampage.
Patti is the most vicious, despite wearing dungarees big enough for a family of five. They break into the apartment of her ex-boyfriend, the baby's dad, a loudmouthed Italian, and smash the place up. They find the journalist, who did the nasty on their dead friend, and kick him half way down the street. These girls have the femininity of piranhas and go out of their way to look unsexy. Harris has a problem with this. Whatever shapeless piece of clothing she throws on, she cannot disguise beauty. Taylor, who was electrifying in I Shot Andy Warhol and is known for the intensity of her performances, is too old to pretend to be a high school girl.
She compensates by overacting and making a lot of noise. Grace captures the sulky, why-am-I-alive nihilism extremely well and is, as you would expect, no fun to be with. The film is a rambly muddle, interspersed with antisocial behavior. As outrage against the male gender, it does an effective job. As propaganda for girl power, it weakens its impact by being twice as aggressive as the boys.Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
If you like this, try:A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints