Written by Puño Estupendo
How ridiculous of a premise can you have in a movie before you get taken right out of the experience? But what if that premise is inspired by a true story? I've never really asked myself these questions before, but Stuart Gordon's latest film Stuck had me mulling it over.
The setup is simple but mind-numbingly ignorant: Brandi is a nurse at a retirement home by day and a pill-popping club girl by night. Everything is going great for her because her super-clichéd boss just unofficially offered her a promotion. Mr. Thomas Bardo, however, is having an extremely bad day. He can't seem to catch any breaks whatsoever and embarks on his first night as being homeless. Brandi is driving recklessly home from the club that night, Tom is crossing the street with his newly acquired shopping cart and she hits him. His legs break and he flies headfirst through her windshield and Brandi just keeps on driving, bloody passenger and all, back home and parks him and the car in the garage. The next 12 hours play out with such ridiculous ignorance (of which the film seems to be very aware of) that you somehow can't look away. That seems to be the twisted joke here. You watch this woman Brandi (played with wonderful stupidity by Mena Suvari) do everything in her power to not deal with Stephen Rea's Thomas Bardo, still alive and a bloody mess, stuck in her car's windshield.
Stuart Gordon is definitely becoming an interesting filmmaker after his more famous stretch in B-movie gorefests, which included Re-Animator. His 2005 film Edmond was based on David Mamet's play and Mamet even wrote the screenplay. William H. Macy gave a great performance in it and the film won several awards. Quite a far distance from the horror-head circuit and Stuck seems to continue his unexpected path in this direction.
Stuck is shot very nicely and carries itself well for the most part. Gordon's horror roots come through in a big way though. There are agonizingly long and very graphic scenes in which Bardo tries to free himself from the car and Stuart's past exploitative nature also shines through in a sex scene that goes on a little long given the setting. But that's the feel of this film and it works. The fact that there's a sex scene in this movie at all tells you how infuriatingly ignorant Suvari's character Brandi is. She says things to her crippled garage guest like "Why are you doing this to me?" which had me yelling at my television and laughing at myself for doing so. There are a few more moments like that. Some of the people do the most insanely stupid things, all of which keep that poor man in that windshield, that you'll be shaking your head and telling yourself that nobody is that stupid. All of this anxiety builds up and I was laughing about it, which is what's intended. The ending comes together in a very Tales From The Crypt kind of closure, but after the way the movie plays out, the ending just gave a much needed "There, that's the end" and you can let loose with a relieving sigh.
The disc has absolutely nothing in the way of bonus features. A trailer, that's it. I actually could have used an interview with Gordon on this one, or even one of those lame text screens chronicling some of the production points. All in all, if you've got a twisted taste in humor and aren't afraid of some seriously cringe-inducing scenes, Stuck isn't a bad watch in the least. Leave's me still wanting to follow up with wherever Stuart Gordon's going next.