Damage Done

"Excellent"

Damage Done Review


Roy Burdine's Damage Done begins like a sucker punch to the head.

Elliot (Zach Selwyn) is driving down the highway in a bleached out, barren American landscape and spies a jaw-dropping beauty (Bonnie Warner) trying to hitch a ride. Elliot adjusts his glasses and turns the car around to pick her up but she is gone. Elliot proceeds onward, finding the girl engaged in a pitched battle by the roadside with a fat, middle-aged lout in a SUV. Elliot comes to rescue (Andrea, the hitcher, later remarks to Elliot, "What's your story anyway? Riding up and down the highway, looking for damsels in distress?") but quickly loses the advantage and gets bitch-slapped and kicked by the wayside schlub. Andrea takes command, pulling a gun, holding it pointblank at her violator's temple, and making the guy piss in his pants. Crying like a baby, he makes his retreat as Andrea screams like a banshee and cackles like a devil. Elliot runs up to her as the SUV drives away, and she simply shrugs it off. "Men!" she says.

Clearly, this woman is big trouble, and Andrea quickly reveals herself to be an unyielding junkie. But the smitten Elliot is willing to accept the consequences since he also turns out to be even more unfeeling and emotionally damaged than Andrea and her heroine dependency. He proceeds to take her under his wing and they make their way west through a parched, bleak limbo land, reminiscent of the gloom-laden terrains of Wristcutters: A Love Story, El Topo, and Zabriskie Point.

The film is a two-character tone poem, dependent upon the performances to carry it off. Selwyn and Warner are more than up to the challenge, pairing up together like an existential Tom Neal and Ann Savage from Detour. Selwyn's Elliot character starts off as an ever-apologizing innocent but as the film proceeds and the depths of his desolation are exposed, Selwyn takes the character into uncharted emotional turns, culminating in an extended scene of primal wailing that makes Arthur Janov's psychotherapeutic treatment look like a laugh track. But the pivotal role is Warner's. Andrea has to fill the bill as the neo-noir femme fatale -- she not only has to be sexy and despicable, joyful and angry, quirky and tenacious but also charismatic enough to make it believable that Elliot would forgive Andrea's needle marks and stick with her. And Warner is a revelation in the role. Like Elliot, the viewer is always on edge whenever Warner is on screen, never knowing which way she is going to go or which angle her angular face will take, looking gorgeous, hateful, innocent and beaten down from shot to shot. Warner gets inside your brain like a disease.

Burdine honors the lyrics of Neil Young's ode to despair, "The Needle and the Damage Done," by documenting for 106 minutes the line in the tune, "Every junkie's like a setting sun." Burdine infests his film with the gloom and helplessness of Young's song. It is there in the sun-blinding whiteouts of Elliot and Andrea's journey, in the ominous and fetid dark clouds that consume their Los Angeles destination, in the jerky jump-cuts and unfettered camera work (looking like a road movie version of Husbands and Wives). To his credit, Burdine sticks with his stifling style of melancholia and follows it through to its logical, doomed conclusion. No compromised Hollywood ending here; the company ain't called Anti-Films for nothing.

Damage Done is uncompromising and relentless, like an addict needing a desperate fix.

Burdine's film is now in its own limbo land, crying out for a theatrical release. A curiously appropriate if, as a whiplash-inducing follow-up to Burdine's three-year stint as director of the Teenage Mutants Ninja Turtles cartoon show, Damage Done makes a critical darling like No Country For Old Men look like Eight On the Lam.

We can rebuild her.



Damage Done

Facts and Figures

Run time: 105 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 10th January 2008

Distributed by: IndieFlix

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

IMDB: 6.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Roy Burdine

Producer: Roy Burdine, Peter Bruno

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.