Sometimes a movie concerns itself with a disturbing subject. When this is done by a little independent film the effect on the audience can be profound. These types of films feel less pressure to provide a typical Hollywood ending and therefore can invoke far more though as you leave the theater. Body Shots is such a film. Dont let the title fool you it is a film of greater depth than you might see on the surface. The movie follows a couple of days in the lives of two groups of friends, one young men, the other young women. In the male group there are the typical stereotypes, the jock Michael (Jerry OConnell). He is the master of his own life, or so he thinks. A star player for a pro football team he thinks he is Gods gift to women and he tries his best to provide this gift to as many as possible. There is the oddball Trent (Ron Livingston). A successful man that always does things to excess. On the female side there are also some colorful characters. Jane (Amanda Peet), is a lawyer that is the most levelheaded of the group. Sara is a party animal looking for mister right now in clubs and bars. Sort of a nineties version of Looking for Mr. Goodbar. One evening the groups meets up at a club and continues the evenings activity of getting drunk. The main focus of the film is what happens between Sara and Mike. Sara (Tara Reid) comes to Janes door and tells her Mike raped her. The movie provides both sides, his lustful and mutual evening of passion and her version of an unprovoked attack.
The acting is also better than you might think. While the film seems to be an excuse to have hot young stars taking off their clothes there is a lot more, not only to the story but to the acting. OConnell is terrific as the egocentric jock. A far cry from Sliders and the pudgy kid in Stand by Me, he shows he can grow as an actor. Peet has many excellent qualities that should make her a pretty big star. First there is her wonderful grin, very reminiscent of Julia Roberts. Next, there is a balance between her comic sense and a growing ability to play things straight. Reid is the scene-stealer as Sara. She is able to present a character that is multi-dimensional. She can play the confident young woman that has a scared little girl just under the surface. While many will watch this film for the display of Ms Reid's body do yourself a favor and pay attention to her powerful performance.
The director Michael Cristofer has won awards for his bio-pic Gia from HBO. He style her is much along the same lines. Much of the expository material is related to the audience in a mock documentary style. The characters are show outside the action talking about the events and people in the film. There is also a lot of technically interesting camera work including a lot of shots, fades, lighting and angles that keep the viewer a bit off balance. This is perfect to heighten the overall disconcerting effect of the film. In the end nothing is truly resolved. As with many date rape cases the facts are not always black and white and the large quantities of alcohol blur the truth on both sides of the case. What is presented is not only serious entertainment but a good lesson for teenagers today. I have a teenaged daughter and I plan on watching this film with her and using it to discuss some very important issues.
The disc is presented in Dolby 5.1 and anamorphic 1.85:1 with both the rated R and unrated versions. While light on extras the movie stands on its own as worth while to purchase. Even on the all too difficult dark bar room scenes the video is excellent. The audio is a bit over powering at times, very heavy on the sub-woofer. The DVD ROM feature is a script to film presentation. Young adults face a lot today, this movie shows the dangers of losing control can have and the need to taking responsibility. Heavy topics, sure, but extremely well done.