Twitter Plot Summary: A man gets on the wrong side of a biker and finds himself being stalked for the rest of the day.
Dennis Twist (Rick Crawford) and his scraggy beard are engaged in extra-marital activities with another woman. On this day in particular he manages to incur the wrath, somehow, of a mysterious Biker who then proceeds to follow him everywhere. We never see the Biker’s face – somewhat disturbing in itself – and Dennis’ thoughts that all of this may be a result of the affair he’s currently involved in provide a welcome sense of urgency and mystery. Without that there would be little point in watching it.
Dennis’ impressively unkempt beard aside, there are a few good ideas trying to push to the fore, but they are mixed in with some poor acting, occasionally bad editing and some equally bad audio quality. The plethora of rave reviews, awards and award nominations on the back of the DVD case go a long way towards hiding the fact that it’s still not particularly good. Nobody’s expecting a Hollywood style, explosive action thriller by any stretch, not from an indie budget movie. Perhaps it fails under the weight of expectation?
The mysterious Biker is an imposing presence, but this is about as far as the feeling of threat goes. The violent moments are not handled all that well – over-cranked footage and occasionally bad editing do little to engage you with events. It seems like yet another example where a change in director or a change in shot selection would have made all the difference. As it is, it often feels like not enough thought has gone into where the camera should be placed to best capture the action. More often than not a potentially dramatic moment is tarnished by having the camera shoved right in the actor’s face.
The script goes to great pains to mention Steven Spielberg’s Duel, from which Rage draws much of its inspiration. Referencing a classic is fine, but doing so as blatantly as Rage does – and without even trying to be amusing, it had to be said – is not the best way of doing things. Yes we get it, the main story is borrowed quite liberally from Duel, now can we move along? It’s a script inclusion that has the potential to annoy, irritate or cause groans of derision from the audience.
The real issue is that very little actually happens. The transition from thriller to home invasion in the final act is a welcome move as until that point there’s little to suggest it is worth sitting through. Fear not, because things pick up in the last third and it’s a much better movie for it. With the addition of a chainsaw and a slightly irritating neighbour, the same issues of camera placement from earlier are still there, but are easily forgiven with the addition of blood splatter, personal violations and general violence.
Depending on your perspective of course, Rage may be a perfectly decent, low budget revenge thriller. If all you’re after is a couple of vehicle chases and a bit of violence at the end, then it’s the perfect film for you. Those of us with more interest in a developed story and solid choreography may have to get their kicks elsewhere.