Back Against the Wall | Chicago Reader

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94 minutes · 2000

This 2002 feature by Chicago filmmaker James Fotopoulos is a black-and-white narrative shot in about a week for $26,000, and the simple synopsis provided for it—"A group of people struggle to obtain power through sex and violence"—doesn't hint at the long takes from fixed camera positions, surveying a variety of grim midwestern locations, or the layered and sinister industrial sound design. The centrifugal and somewhat confusing narrative has something to do with a few women who work in "lingerie modeling," showing off their outfits to older men. Many writers have linked the filmmaker to David Lynch and David Cronenberg, but a heavily made-up grotesque who becomes prominent toward the end reminded me more of Tobe Hooper. The most interesting thing for me is the film's abrupt ending, which proves how difficult it is to anticipate what Fotopoulos is up to.

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