Hide does something incredible within minutes of fading in from black. It made me seriously question what year the film was made. From all the press material it seems like 2008 was the production date but this flick is more than a day old. It's also a dollar short but the budget never really gets in the way of the real problem which is that the film's sensibility is that of the early '90s indie film "genre". The story keeps getting in the way of the ironic cleverness or perhaps it's the other way around. Instead of just using the cinematic concepts behind films like Natural Born Killers, Wild at Heart, True Romance, and Kalifornia, Hide instead steals actual bits, characters and scenes from them.
See if this story sounds as stale to you: Betty (Rachel Miner) and Billy (Christian Kane) are a couple of white trash talkin' killers on a huge cross country crime spree that seems less driven by the need for cold cash than an expression of the burning hot love that consumes them. After a long chat in a diner featuring much random discussion of eggs, philosophy and existentialism way above these characters' diploma-less education, we learn that they've killed every living soul in the place in a total bloodbath. The police have the place surrounded but with their faith in the power of their love they decide to make a break for it right out the front door. One verbal reference to Butch and Sundance later, the two burst out the front doors firing guns in a freeze frame that winks right back at the Paul Newman-Robert Redford film. Billy spends the movie friendly "SEVEN YEARS" in jail but is suddenly bust out of a armored vehicle by Betty and the two make their escape. The rest of the film chronicles their shaky relationship as they head out west planning to dig up the loot Billy buried years earlier. But Billy is a changed man, wracked with guilt over his actions, and is mortally afraid of some divine retribution to come...
Stale as it is, this story has been done before and can be done again by filmmakers with a new angle. Now, the picture has a great look with sunny Argentina standing in for the American west and both Miner and Kane give it their all. But even they seem to be unsure of what the hell kind of movie this is supposed to be or just how to make the loony dialogue sound real. Screenwriter Greg Rosati must've thought that putting the word "Baby" either before or after any line instantly made the characters sound like pulp archetypes. It does. But it doesn't make them sound believable and for a film with only two principle characters for the entire running time this flaw is fatal.
For two thirds of the film, Hide plays as David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino-lite and not those filmmakers as they are today but as they were in, say, 1994. Director Bascombe even has the temerity to have Billy lying on a motel bed clicking his feet together in a Wizard of Oz reference which even Lynch made tiresome in Wild at Heart.
The last third makes good on a series of scenes that interrupt the flow of the film as though someone had the remote and kept switching over to a horror channel. In between scenes featuring Betty and Billy driving cross country are dark and graphically violent murders being carried out by a masked serial killer right out of any contemporary torture porn like Saw or Hostel. This brings the film to a fashionable but head scratching twist ending that completely sinks any quality the film had up to that point. It seriously renders the film almost unwatchable. No, not almost. The twist is so insulting to the intelligence that it makes this review a waste of time as well. Read another review instead and definitely watch something other than Hide. You're welcome in advance. As I reviewed a screener copy of the disc, I was not able to view any extras and I do not know how well the screener represents the final version released. For the record, Image quality and sound were excellent on this disc.
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