Taking a fictionalized approach to a mass murder in Seattle a decade ago, Jagger Gravning’s “Wallflower” arrives at something more idiosyncratic and ultimately haunting than a standard docudrama-style true crime tale. Focusing less on the perpetrator than on the raver milieu he briefly infiltrated — to tragic results — this culture-clash snapshot provides a moving if also mysterious portrait of fragile mental health snapping tether entirely amid the alien environs of blithe hedonism.
Those looking for a more explanatory approach to Kyle Aaron Huff’s fatal shooting of six and himself in 2006 may be frustrated by the writer-director’s impressionistic view. But “Wallflower” is complex, empathetic and often poetical, emphasizing the flow of life that was interrupted rather than the interruption itself — in a way comparable to (though not as narratively abstract as) Gus Van Sant’s “Elephant.” It’s also a sort of nostalgia piece for the rave scene, whose candy-colored escapism as depicted here looks as archaic as hippiedom.
Huff isn’t named here (actor David Call is credited as playing “Murderer”), though the actions and minimally glimpsed backstory (in mostly eyeblink flashbacks) of his equivalent closely follow what’s known about him. But the characters he interacts with over the roughly 24-hour period depicted are fictive composites of the attack’s survivors and victims. A sense of profound internal stress is introduced in opening bits where Call’s bearded thirtyish loner, at once handsome and strangely anonymous, is heard apologizing for an act of drunken vandalism in his Montana home town, then leaving mercurial “crazy ex-boyfriend”-type phone messages for a woman we realize he may barely know at all.
Meanwhile, the inhabitants of a party house on E. Republican — notably a lesbian comic-book artist who’s dubbed herself Strobe Rainbow (Atsuko Okatsuka), and who is trying not to succumb to the bad vibes left by an ugly recent breakup, and her bestie Link (Conner Marx), the kind of compulsive prankster who can really be an irritant if you’re not in the mood for his antics — prepare for a big night. They’re inevitably going to a “Better Off Undead”-themed rave at the Capitol Hill Arts Center, as are many of their friends. A far less likely attendee is the Montana transplant, who appears to have a moralistic attraction/repulsion thing toward ravers.
As we see the shindig through his eyes, its playful psychedelia and outrageous self-expression become nightmarish, a dislocating mix of sexuality and grotesquerie he stands rigidly apart from. Yet simultaneously, he seems to plead for human connection. When a pretty younger woman (Hannah Horton as “Noobgirl”) asks if he’s OK, mistaking his barely restrained psychosis for a recreational-drug bummer, he places far too much significance on her kind gesture. Later Strobe likewise acts out of well-meaning pity when she invites this awkward-looking stranger to hang out at an after-party at her house.
LOS ANGELES: Michelle Monaghan has joined the cast of Tom Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible 6,” the actress and writer and director Christopher McQuarrie both confirmed on social media. This marks her third appearance in the franchise.
Monaghan starred in 2006’s “Mission: Impossible III” as a doctor named Julia Meade, the fiance of Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt character. Following a gun battle in which she successfully dispatched two attackers, Hunt revealed to her that he works as a secret agent. The movie ended with the pair heading for a honeymoon. She also appeared at the end of “Ghost Protocol.”
McQuarrie began shooting the Paramount tentpole on April 8 in Paris. Producers are J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Tom Cruise, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Don Granger. (RTRS)
Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Alec Baldwin and Sean Harris are reprising their roles from previous films while Henry Cavill, Vanessa Kirby and Sian Brooke have come on board as new characters. Paramount has set a July 27, 2018 release date.
Monaghan stars in Hulu’s drama “The Path” with Aaron Paul and Hugh Dancy. She was recently seen in “Patriots Day” and “Sleepless.” She recently wrapped production on “Saint Judy,” starring as immigration attorney Judy Wood.
By Dennis Harvey