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DESOLATION ANGELS (director/writer: Tim McCann; cinematographer: Matthew Howe; editor: Tim McCann; music: Drew Stiles; cast: Michael Rodrick (Nick), Peter Bassett (Sid), Jennifer Thomas (Mary), Shannon Gold (Ralph), Linda Moran (Sarah), Cheryl Clifford (Donna), Frank Olivier (Gumby), Glenn Schuld (Bartender); Runtime: 94; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Steve Olivieri/Tim McCann; IN Pictures; 1995)
“Disturbing and compelling urban drama.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Tim McCann’s impressive debut feature film came in on a budget of around $25,000. It’s a provocative psychological drama on pigheaded machismo behavior, telling how it is for a twenty-something aimless college grad, Nick Adams (Michael Rodrick), working a blue-collar truck delivery job and living in Brooklyn. When Nick returns from a Boston trip his clothing store clerk girlfriend Mary (Jennifer Thomas) tells him that his best friend from college, Sid (Peter Bassett), an arrogant, sordid low-rent womanizer and aspiring actor living off handouts from his wealthy mom, came onto her. Upon further inquiry Nick finds out Sid asked her over to his apartment because he was depressed and instead raped her.

The jealous Nick, goaded on by those around him, can’t get over that his woman had sex with his supposed best friend and ineffectively takes revenge on Sid by attacking him in front of the oily villain’s thug friend, who pummels him. Nick is so preoccupied about his feelings being hurt that he does little to comfort Mary for being forthright. Nick continues to make bad decisions, inflaming the situation even further, as his neighborhood bartender gives him the number of a Bronx thug (Frank Olivier), who screws up as he mistakenly beats up Nick’s spiritual seeking cultish roommate Ralph (Shannon Gold) instead of Sid.

The humdrum Mary feels lost that Nick is not there for her and breaks up with him, as the angry young man lashes out at her with insults about her looks, how drippy she is and splits the city by train. Raised on misogynist sexual attitudes where the men think their women only want aggressive types and that it’s best to treat a lady like a whore, the confused and immature Nick is trapped in a whole milieu that offers little in understanding relationships. Everyone in this film seems out of it and unsympathetic, which makes it a disturbing and compelling urban drama.

Though the acting was uneven and the story line tosses out a bleak message, there’s something pertinent that McCann has raised about contemporary morality and lifestyle that he leaves hanging but needs closer scrutiny.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”