State's Evidence Review
By Christopher Null
With a title like State's Evidence, and knowing nothing about the movie, I assumed it could be one of two things: Run-of-the-mill gangster flick, possibly with an informer being protected from mobsters looking to kill him, or urban drama/thriller, probably starring a collection of rappers and plenty of gunplay.
I'm pleased to report that neither was the case... I'm not sure I could bear to watch another one of either of those kinds of films. What State's Evidence is, rather, is an entry into the burgeoning teen violence genre, taking the form of, primarily, a home video confession of a high school student who's determined to commit suicide the next day. In chronicling his last day on earth, word gets out what Scott (Douglas Smith) is going to do, and he soon becomes a minor celebrity in school, as everyone wants to be a part of his last day on earth. But a few of his friends throw a wrench into things by deciding to join in, and a suicide pact is formed. As expected, this takes an even darker tone as the kids realize that, with no consequences facing them, morality may as well go out the window.
State's Evidence is a powerful and compelling movie, far more interesting than you might expect given a pedigree that admittedly sounds derivative. Everything from Elephant to Heathers feels like its been down this road before, and yet State's Evidence is remarkably new and clear. Part of that is because of its camcorder-based storytelling, which puts you as much as possible into the minds of the teens themselves. And every one of these young actors do powerful work, from Alexa Vega (shrugging off her Spy Kids innocence at last) to Kris Lemche (the one who snaps).
While the film's Columbinian turn in the last act (not to mention the untenable finale) detracts from a stellar beginning, State's Evidence is still a very compelling production that is easy to like, despite some difficult content that may play with your emotions. Give it a spin.
Facts and Figures
Rotten Tomatoes: 40%
Fresh: 2 Rotten: 3
Cast & Crew
Producer: Mark Brown, Breht Gardner, Jack Janda, Stephen L'Heureux