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SubUrbia

Director:

U.S.A.| 1996. Colour. Dolby stereo. 121 mins.


Adhering to the 24-hour timeframe of his first three features, Linklater directs a fine adaptation of Eric Bogosian’s tragicomic play about the frustrated lives of several 20-year old suburbanites. They hang out in the car park of an all-night convenience store, where they spend their time drinking and eating junk food and exchanging ideas about the ugliness of the world. Here idleness generates hatred, suburban provincialism and violence. Jeff (Giovanni Ribisi), for example, resists change, refusing to see how his girlfriend might benefit from a move to New York to pursue a career in art; he hates his former friend Pony (Jayce Bartok), who has become a rock star, despite the fact that Pony’s success simply implies that he is able to earn a living by doing what he most enjoys; finally, Jeff cannot prevent himself from attacking the Pakistanis who own the very establishment he uses so regularly. SubUrbia doesn’t exactly provide a progressive view of idleness, but Linklater manages to keeps matters engrossing, partly through the strong performances he elicits, partly through his firm grasp of the rhythms, colours and moods of suburban existence.

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