This is a tense one setting flick. It features the troubled Smith family. They are the small town pariahs that live on the outskirts of town down a little travelled road. This family seems to be crumbling because of an unbearable secret. Matt, the father, is an attorney who is trying to get work in town. Due to his status of patriarch of the local freak clan he struggles finding employment. Marilyn is the cold and distant mother. Angry at their situation yet unwilling to do anything to change it. Quentin is the teenage son whose only goal is to get away from his parents and the small town that loathes all of them. His sister is Gloria, the terrible little secret they keep locked in her room.
|What is it that makes a Tom Wolfe suit so unsettling?|
The cast does well in their roles as the dysfunctional and struggling family. But the real show stopper is Patrick Breen who plays Nick. Nick is a southern gentleman whose car has broken down on a grey winter evening. He comes walking up the driveway on a grey winter afternoon wearing a Tom Wolfe suit and a surgeon’s case in his hands. He looks like a traveling salesman and he sounds like a southern preacher. He merely seeks a place for the night until the mechanic can show up the following morning. Matt wants to help Nick out as a step to rebuild the family reputation and Marilyn refuses at first. As Matt gives Nick the ‘ol heave ho, Marilyn comes out and allows the loquacious gentleman to stay.
|Friendly yet earnestly inquisitive, Nick excels at conversation.|
The Smith’s settle in for dinner providing a plate for Nick as well. Nick graciously thanks them and remarks, “The world doesn’t reward kindness. At least not very highly or for very long.” I even found myself liking the guy but then he had to go and say something totally fucked up. “I cut people up.” After a tense moment he adds, “I’m a surgeon.” I don’t know. There is still just something wrong with ye olde chirugeon case and the fucking Tom Wolfe suit. But he’s still a nice guy…
Well dinner is over and Nick begins to work his silver tongue on the Smith’s individually. Marilyn spills the beans and tells him the big family secret. Yep, he’s that kind of guy. Only thing is as the movie progresses we find out that she lied. Or maybe not. Maybe she had told the lie so much she believed it herself.
|He’s actually here to help you get to know yourself better…|
As it pans out Nick is a traveling salvation show. He provides comfort and solace and helps folks become shriven of their sins through his ministrations. He is the “bearer of secret punishments,” but his goal is to affect the salvation of souls. The darker and more stained souls the better. As he informs Gloria, “Though I dwell in darkness I am infused with light.”
|Matt is about to be healed.|
The gore is red. Other than a face bashing most of it flows freely from opened vessels so it is mostly of the liquid variety. The real draw of this little film is the unrelenting feeling of trapped despair which turns into dread of the inevitable. The real clincher though is Patrick Breen’s charming yet still disturbing portrayal of Nick. He walks into frame a mystery and at the end he remains just as enigmatic when the credits roll.
Check this thing out. It’s a tense fun ride through the hellish secrets of a dysfunctional family and the reckoning they thought they could avoid.