Film: Public Access

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Film:

Public Access

Director: Bryan Singer
Honors:
Genres:
Distributor: Vanguard Cinema

“What’s wrong with Brewster?” asks the smiling devil-behind-blue-eyes Whiley Pritcher (Ron Marquette), a well-mannered, clean-cut drifter who has his own public access talk show. Brewster is a rural community with a secret under its bland surface of rural small town normalcy (a less insidious but more enigmatic reflection of Blue Velvet), and Whiley becomes an instant celebrity as he stirs it up with gossip and name-calling. But that’s not his goal—or at least it doesn’t appear to be. But then Whiley is an enigma in every sense of the word, a walking…

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“What’s wrong with Brewster?” asks the smiling devil-behind-blue-eyes Whiley Pritcher (Ron Marquette), a well-mannered, clean-cut drifter who has his own public access talk show. Brewster is a rural community with a secret under its bland surface of rural small town normalcy (a less insidious but more enigmatic reflection of Blue Velvet), and Whiley becomes an instant celebrity as he stirs it up with gossip and name-calling. But that’s not his goal—or at least it doesn’t appear to be. But then Whiley is an enigma in every sense of the word, a walking stream of aphorisms masking something creepy under his false front. The first film by the director Brian Singer and screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie shared the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance but received little attention until their second collaboration, The Usual Suspects, became a smash a few years later. While it’s not as accomplished or clever as that hit, it shares the mysterious sense of purpose and eerie undercurrent of unease. Ron Marquette plays Whiley with pinched smugness, empty smiles, and calculated utterances, and Singer and McQuarrie leave his motivations and identity a complete mystery. That mystery makes Public Access both maddening and memorable. —Sean Axmaker

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