This is possibly her best performance; she definitely doesn't play it safe here. An endearing, sociopathic and illiterate 15-year old who "had an anger problem, but not any more." It's fun to think of the LEGALLY BLONDE fanatics renting this and being horrified at their princess turning tricks and having a black boyfriend. At the same time, she really does do interesting movies. ELECTION is way different, yet I think is a great companion to this movie with its dark, subversive humor. AMERICAN PSYCHO and CRUEL INTENTIONS are by no means good movies, but we're not talking Sandra Bullock's stuff here.
Anyway, FREEWAY is in its own class, taking urban white trash clichés in absurd and droll directions. Vanessa Lutz's prostitute mother, pederast step-father and their crack rocks are taken away by the County cops, and she just wants to get to grandmother's trailer park where everything will be okay. (Her dream sequence, with a trailer park paradise with kitsch giraffe statutes makes for an hysterical ideal) So she sets off, on the I-5 in southern California. She eventually falls into the hands of bourgeois child therapist and ambitious serial killer Bob Wolverton (Keifer), who manipulates her into talking about herself. This is one of the best parts of the movie.
Sutherland is fine as the wolf. The two detectives are hilarious. Dan Hedaya as the slightly bemused older guy, and Wolfgang Bodison as the patronizing young guy who Vanessa beats the crap out of at one point.
Strange moral debates constantly play out in the subtext of the movie, and I think enhance its humor. There are few well-written movies that even approach the black humor and socially sacriligeous quality of this movie. It's up there with REPO MAN and WAY OF THE GUN. Director Matthew Bright's commentary is pretty interesting, especially talking about the dynamics of filming on a very limited budget. Also, through his constant remarks about girls, girls' hair, Reese, and hints of his own perversions, he comes across as a very weird fellow on his own. So it is worth listening to if you're a fan of the movie.
The other reviewers have already raved about the great writing, and the performances given by Witherspoon and Sutherland. And they're completely right.
If you want a smart, edgy update to the classic Little Red Riding Hood fable, get this DVD.
Matthew Bright, recently responsible for the Ted Bundy film (one of a slew of serial killer bio flicks quickly released after the success of... Read more