Jailbait

"Good"

Jailbait Review


Oh, bummer. Young petty criminal druggie Randy (Michael Pitt) has just run into his state's tough three-strikes-you're-out law, and as the cell door slams behind him, he's looking at a 25-year stretch. The question: how much of it will he have to spend with his cellmate and new best buddy Jake (Stephen Adly Guirgis)?

Jailbait, Brett C. Leonard's tight little two-character film, is claustrophobic and grim, not exactly a kick-back-and-relax kind of movie but one that's worth watching for the nearly wordless performance of Michael Pitt, whose reaction shots never fail to speak volumes.

And he has a lot to react to. Terrified in his new situation, the girlishly lovely Randy starts to relax when he realizes that the menacing and overly talkative Jake, who admits to killing his wife (she deserved it!), is happy to have a companion to shoot the breeze with, and if Randy almost never interrupts, all the better. So talk talk talk he does, and Randy listens with a mix of fear, wonder, and amusement on his face. Things start to get tense only when Jake starts demanding that Randy reciprocate with his own stories of sex and debauchery, stories that he can't or won't summon at will. That's a mistake.

As the pair prepare to go down to the chow line, Jake starts to tell Randy how to fix his hair and how to tie a knot in his shirt. Without ever having to say it, Randy insidiously makes Jake his prison bitch, and sexual abuse (never seen on screen) commences.

The rest of the movie is an intense battle of psychological thrusts and dodges. Jake is clearly the alpha dog of the cell block, with his thick limbs and De Niro-style mannerisms. Randy is a helpless waif, but he starts to learn Jake's vulnerabilities and plays on them in a desperate effort to avoid more rape and perhaps murder. It's an interesting if overlong dance, and, like Randy, you'll soon tire of Jake's endless babblings about every little thing.

But keep your eye on Pitt, who endures this grueling acting exercise with great finesse. It's hard to avoid thinking of River Phoenix's best moments as you watch Pitt eye Guirgis. With the exception of a guest stint on Dawson's Creek, Pitt has mainly been a darling of the indie scene. It would be exceptionally interesting to see what a good director could do with Pitt's talent in a starring role a mainstream picture. (Murder by Numbers doesn't count.)

Unpleasant though it may be, Jailbait is a chance to see two very good actors going at it and making the most of some serious nastiness. You'll feel good when the credits roll and you're paroled.

Fifteen will get ya twenty.



Jailbait

Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Tuesday 18th February 2014

Production compaines: Asylum, The

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 4.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Brett C. Leonard

Producer: , Corbin Day, Brett C. Leonard, Lina Moran, Dan O'Meara

Starring: Sara Malakul Lane as Anna Nix, Samantha Cardona as Jane, Erin O'Brien as Kody, Jennifer Robyn Jacobs as Genie, Rebecca Rowley as Switch, Nicole Alexandra Shipley as Talent Show Host

Also starring: ,

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