Public Access


Public Access Review

A few words about Public Access, a 1993 film that is now getting a limited theatrical release. Produced by the team that brought us The Usual Suspects, Public Access is a "first work" that is only now being distributed to ride on the 1995 film's coattails. Upon watching Public Access, it's pretty clear why this film never went anywhere at the time it was made, even though it won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.

Public Access is a perplexing little movie about an insidious drifter named Whiley (Ron Marquette) who stirs up controversy by starting his own public cable access show in the small town of Brewster. He asks one question of his viewers, "What's wrong with Brewster?" And slowly, it becomes clear that there's an awful lot wrong, culminating in several murders.

I heard screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie speak about the film, of which he was highly embarrassed. Most viewers were confused about some aspect of the movie, as was I, and McQuarrie's canned answers to their questions generally ranged in the "We had 10 days to write it," and "It was our first movie" type of responses. These are valid excuses. Public Access, as a feature film, seems far from finished, as if it needs another run or two through the editing room. The unfortunate result of this is that when the movie isn't incomprehensible, it's pretty boring that I actually dozed off.

Fans of The Usual Suspects may get a kick out of seeing what McQuarrie and director Bryan Singer have risen from. Otherwise, you're just as well off watching your own public access channel.

Public Access

Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Friday 1st January 1993

Distributed by: Triboro

Reviews 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 50%
Fresh: 6 Rotten: 6

IMDB: 5.2 / 10

Cast & Crew



Starring: as Whiley Pritcher, Burt Williams as Bob Hodges, Leigh Hunt as Intersect Host, John Renshaw as Jock Talk Host, Jennifer McManus as Receptionist, as Kevin Havey, as Rachel, Craig Stovall as Cameraman #1, Bruce Germaine as Cameraman #2, Margaret Kerry as Marge, Margaret Kerry as Tatting Tales / Our Town Caller, as Mayor Breyer, Randall Slavin as Pudd, Liz Dilts as Lisa, as Heather, John Ellis as Russ, Shawn Ellis as Drug dealer, as Cop #1 / Our Town Caller, Matt Jacobson as Cop #2 (as Matthew Jacobson), Ross Collins as Man with Baby, Virginia Perry as Mayor's Daughter, Mark Norling as Lyle Macintosh, Larry Maxwell as Jeff Abernathy, Jason Valance as Tray, Prentiss Hallenbeck as Our Town Caller, Dan Spahn as Our Town Caller, Diane Spahn as Our Town Caller, Adam Ripp as Our Town caller (as A.J. Ripp)