Thursday, March 30, 2017

Man Out of Prison: Joint Body

Counting down to the Netflix release of Evan Katz's adaptation of Dave Zeltserman's Small Crimes I'm looking at some of my favorite in the man-out-of-prison subgenre. Today it's Brian Jun's Joint Body.

Mark Pellegrino plays Nick, a parolee trying to make a new life for himself when he's cut off from his wife and child. He's working a menial job and living in a shitty apartment (or hotel?) where he's just reached out to a possible kindred soul - a woman (Alicia Witt) stringing her life along night to night dancing in a sleazy joint and trying to retain her own soul by taking care of her infirm neighbors.

One night she's attacked by an unstable and fixated former acquaintance and Nick intervenes with tragic results. He wakes up in the hospital wounded and most likely heading back to prison unless she'll stick her neck out for him. The rest of the film is these two very damaged people circling each other warily deciding exactly how much weight they can lean on the other. Two people crossing a frozen lake metaphor together, gingerly, sometimes aggressively, obviously in need of the other, but heartbreakingly and convincingly unwilling to completely trust the other.

It's like a Tom Waits song on screen or maybe a Charles Bukowski story from the sweeter pole of his work. An under-exposed crime flick deserving of a larger audience. This is exactly the kind of adult fare I wish were more prevalent today.

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