Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sundance '09: Dare

What a delightful little film. Dare is a simply story told with very ballsy execution. Straight-edge highschooler and wannabe actress, Alexa (Emmy Rossum) quickly finds her life uneventful after an accomplished actor brutally throws all of her faults in her face. She decides to stop hanging out so much with her nerdy best friend Ben (Ashley Springer) and to “slut it up” with hot-shit Mr. Popular, Johnny (Zach Gilford).

It doesn’t take long with things to seriously heat up. Soon enough the three are involved in a steamy love triangle that really gets the blood pumping. But underneath its humor and booming musical score (a character in itself), there is real drama to this satire.

Johnny is a dick, sure, but it’s incredible how much we grow to care for him. Gilford, excellent in TVs Friday Night Lights, gives Johnny layer after impenetrable layer. He’s a seriously flawed guy hiding behind his temporary popularity. How many people did you know like that in high school?

Rossum (Sean Penn’s daughter in Mystic RiverPhantom of the Opera) delivers a star making performance as emotional Alexa. She’s funny, daring and so sexy it’s incendiary. I couldn’t take my eyes off her; she has a lasting conviction.

The movie doesn’t stumble down typical high school clichés, instead, it present a new look at how the rich kids live. It’s great fun, with a message.

Note: look out for the stage actor that puts Alexa in her place, it’s a great cameo from a tremendously talented actor. Don’t ruin the surprise. A-

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