I tend to make a lot of allowances for films that translate classic literature into high school settings. If nothing else, I respect the ambition of such an endeavor. And there are plenty of examples where this has been done successfully. Clueless (1995), based on Jane Austenâ€™s Emma, was a delightful bit of fluff. Iâ€™m told that Cruel Intentions (1999), based on the French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses, is quite entertaining (Iâ€™d seen the John Maklovich version shortly before Cruel Intensions came out, so I skipped the modern version). And Brick (2006), although not based on any specific piece of hard-boiled crime fiction, is one of the most memorable films Iâ€™ve seen in years. With a title as specific and intriguing as Crime and Punishment in Suburbia, I was prepared to like this film before Iâ€™d even started watching it.
The first Iâ€™d heard of this adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevskyâ€™s classic was when I discovered its soundtrack in a discount bin in a record store in
The Film: Crime and Punishment in Suburbia
The Song: “Useless”
The Artist: Kruder & Dorfmeister / Depeche Mode
Whoâ€™s Who: Monica Keena, an undeniable piece of eye candy who has been seen on
Rob Schmidt, the director, was also responsible for the forgettable horror film Wrong Turn (2003). Crime and Punishment in Suburbia was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance film festival in 2000, a suggestion which is almost as laughable as the nomination of Pretty Persuasion in 2005. His films (as well as his casting choices) suggest and affinity for the stories and styles created by Larry Clark and Joss Whedon.
Vincent Kartheiser plays the counterpoint to the novelâ€™s Sonya, who serves as Raskolnikovâ€™s conscience. Vincent (whose shares the same first name as his character) narrates the film with frequent bits of â€œinsightâ€ into Roseanneâ€™s psychological disintegration and views the events of the film through the lens of his camera as he stalks Roseanne from afar, and eventually from up close.
Curiously, the Depeche Mode song â€œUselessâ€ featured in this scene, which takes place immediately after Roseanne has been raped by her self-pitying stepfather (Michael Ironside) is not included in the official soundtrack. Kruder and Dorfmeister, a pair of German disc jockeys, are responsible for the remix version of the song that is used. It came from their double album The K&D Sessions. I firmly believe that the first four songs on the second disc are the perfect soundtrack to any competent seduction, and are presented here for you and your partnerâ€™s enjoyment.
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Why it Works: The emotional lassitude of Keenaâ€™s Roseanne is convincing. Her choice of an outfit that covers any bare skin (standing in contrast to a landscape and climate that suggests the movie is set in
What Goes Wrong: As someone who has shoved more than one ill-conceived sonnet into the grate of a sophomoreâ€™s locker, I consider myself an authority on the inappropriate gestures of affection that high school students are capable of. I canâ€™t for a second believe that someone would rush into a chemistry laboratory bearing a necklace made of garlic buds and thrust it into the unwilling hands of his stalker-crush. It’s just way, way, way too weird.
Other Stuff: I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve ever seen the quality of a movie was so completely opposite to the quality of its soundtrack. The film is awful. Donâ€™t waste your time with it. On the other hand, the soundtrackâ€¦