With the preface of the film, I thought it would be a little more thriller-ish by the idea of a scientist who becomes increasingly obsessed with a woman co-worker. I’d say it is best to classify Rubberneck as an indie drama with moments of suspense thrown in every now and then. Paul and Danielle share a passionate one night stand that never turns into anything more. Danielle is definitely out of Paul’s league and continually turns him down. Paul attempts to turn this lucky moment into something more meaningful to no avail. Eight months later, things seem to be back to a normal co-working relationship in the lab, but Paul’s desire is heightened again when Danielle shows interest in a new scientist.
This premise led me to believe that Paul would become very stalker-ish. In actuality though, this film is a character study on Paul. We get to know him well throughout the film- meeting his sister and nephew and learning about his difficult childhood. We know something “bad” will happen, but the way that the film leads up to the moment is sincerely realistic for a man who is so anxiety driven with a traumatic past. It is hard not to feel sympathy for him, almost reminding me of Lennie in Of Mice and Men (except in this case Paul is not mentally handicapped). He commits a crime and immediately regrets it afterwards.
Before the “incident” happens, it is sometimes hard to tell where this film is leading. It becomes increasingly obvious that this nice guy is a lonely man all by his own doing. He is his own worst enemy. After his big mistake, Paul continues to make rash and stupid decisions. It is not until a revelation from his past is revealed that we realize why he is the way he is. Everyone handles traumatic experiences in different ways, but this pent-up secret that he has kept hidden for years becomes too much for him to handle.
Although I was expecting something a little more exciting, this is still a decent film. It kept me interested during its short 83 minutes, but it is not one I will be returning to for a second viewing. It is not exceptionally good nor exceptionally bad, but it is surprisingly dark and depressing. People who like films like The Piano Teacher and Boxing Helena will find some enjoyment in this movie.
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