Sep 3, 2008

To Die For

To Die For is a satirical film directed by everybody's favorite mainstream homosexual art film director Gus Van Sant. The film follows a seemingly dumb yet cunning blonde by the name of Suzanne Stone as she attempts to become a popular news anchor. On her way to her career goal, she ends up marrying an Italian American rock drummer named Larry Maretto who has fallen for her. The Italian Stallion even ends up selling his beloved drum set for Suzanne.

Suzanne Stone decides she would rather go by her maiden as a news anchor. I guess Mrs. Maretto has some issues with taking an Italian surname because of the negative connotations it comes with. Larry's family owns an Italian restaurant and his family is also involved in some illegal activities. Essentially, Suzanne Stone marries Larry for his mob family as she believes it will help her with "connections." Instead, Larry is interested in starting a family with his WASP ladylove to her dismay.

Suzanne thinks that Larry's interest in a family will screw up her mindless news casting career so she decides to screw a drugged out loser named Jimmy. After some sex and other romantic activities Suzanne seduces Jimmy with, a murder plan is set-up. For some reason, Suzanne believes that Jimmy and his two equally pathetic friends can murder her husband and get away with it perfectly. Unfortunately for Suzanne, Larry's Italian American family is not as dumb as she thinks.

Joaquin Rafael Phoenix does as an incredible job portraying 1/2 retarded and sympathetic yet pathetic high school student Larry Emmett. Metal head Larry is a lovely character that doesn't have much to look forward to in life. This all changes when he meets Suzanne who Larry puts on a pedestal higher than you would expect the young man to put busty Elvira on. When Larry "scores" with Suzanne, you almost feel glad for him that at least at the moment he feels like someone.

Gus Van Sant assembled a variety of cinematic techniques when directing the unconventional To Die For. The film features everything from documentary style on-camera monologues to scenes of perverse drama. Van Sant succeeds in directing a film that distorts emotions to such an exaggerated level that he gets his point across about media exploitation in a more than obvious (but still appropriate) way. To Die For, like many of Gus Van Sant's films, is a successful experiment with a moderate Hollywood size budget. Very few directors can say they have accomplished the same in regards to art and business success as Van Sant.

Psychoanalytic horror director David Cronenberg almost makes an appearance in To Die For as a mafia hitman. That being said, it is now obvious that To Die For has more than one thing to offer for those interested in viewing the film. The film is a black comedy in the truest sense. Suzanne Stone finally gets her wish of having her face all over News television. A woman that has concocted a murder plan against her husband and has seduced a few high school students, she is one of the greatest conspirators to make day time TV. I have always wanted to see one of those annoying weather girls involved in a murder.

-Ty E

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