The entire existence of a few oddities living in a city that doesn’t know what to do with them is upset by strange circumstances.
Even though their lives are already meaningless, two hooligans take it upon themselves to make them live through hell by mentally and physically torturing them. After pushing Dickie, one of the “Townies”, to upgrade his relationship with Crazy Connie from kind friendship to the sexual level, a proposal that was categorically turned down, they ruin his existence in a way they couldn’t have imagined. Dickie has a passion for garbage. He keeps everything he finds without even questioning himself… and he makes no exception when he finds the body of a woman in a metallic trash container the next day. He brings her home and she becomes his new girlfriend.
Meanwhile, the hoodlums praise themselves for their latest trick, dropping off a Townie in the middle of nowhere, on a country road. They meet Caduceus, another strange character who is obsessed with unorthodox healing techniques. If the other Townies were easily manipulated, this one poses a serious challenge. He isn’t as vulnerable as the others and he is determined to exorcise them.
Pricey, a woman who has never left the mental stage of childhood is isolated of this menace. She has her own worries and they are enough. The others are worried about her. They believe that abuse and rape made her the troubled case she is today. She doesn’t speak and expresses herself with difficulty but the truth is hidden somewhere inside her, in the depths of her mind.
More than a comedy, I believe this film tries to get us thinking. Our society, while it pretends to aid and support the handicapped and mentally deficient people, isn’t quite apt at handling differences. Townies uses a caricatured scenario and characters thinner than carbon paper to discuss the subject, without wanting to impose fixed morals. Curiously, this film allows itself to laugh at its own handicapped… or maybe the ones who laugh are to blame. One thing is certain though, Townies offers you to open your eyes, observe and judge by yourself for the first time, without the influence of society and its ideals. These strange characters bug you? No one judges you. They intrigue you? They will delight you for they are offered in a half-dozen formats!
The introduction will make you ponder if they aren’t redoing The Garbage Pail Kids Movie with life-sized dolls that fart, sniff, lick and regurgitate. This impression will quickly dissipate. The story doesn’t exploit them in this direction. The most satisfying character is certainly Caduceus. After being bullied around for no reason, he decides to obtain revenge, using his kung-fu techniques and the serpent phase to strangle and render unconscious those who aggressed him. By showing his tongue and dissimulating his pupils, Caduceus develops the tastiest scene in the movie.
The use of black and white is an art in itself. This film should have used it moderately instead of using it throughout the film. The problem lies with the fact that the film throws characters at us that are so out of the ordinary that the lack of colour limits the impression they make on us. Dickie’s cadaver would have looked so much deader if it had a greenish tint and Pricey’s polka-dot dress would have looked twice as red.
This film more or less possesses a development. It seizes two days or so in the lives of the characters. The conclusion of their short adventure varies from sad to cheerful but still remains partially macabre.
Townies didn’t profoundly interest me. I was curious and filled by its originality and audacity; I was also pleasingly surprised by its ability to manage taboos. However, this is where my interest stopped. If we recapitulate, the humour isn’t of good taste and its rhythm fluctuates. The film doesn’t head towards a concrete direction and this leads to confusion.
Its target audience will be very thin. The viewers must be open-minded, philosophical, they must appreciate dark humour, be a bit chaotic but will have to, first and foremost, be initiated to independent cult cinema. The general quality and a few actors are of very low grade but the dialogue is fluid and natural. The film has its long moments, sometimes adventuring in dead ends.
- Caduceus (Shane Koltnow)
- Dickie (Toby Radloff)
- Caduceus knocking his opponents down with kung-fu punches.
Released in: 1997
Comedy - Humor - Drama - Diseases - Taboos
Films in similar category:
Killers in the House
Glass House, The
( 2002-07-22 )
Read this article in French