Desolation Angels

Tim McCann’s first feature (1995), made at a cost of $27,000 and distributed by McCann himself, bears absolutely no relation to the Jack Kerouac novel of the same title. Come to think of it, this disturbing and persuasive critique of machismo, which refuses to restrict blame to one or two individuals and ends up indicting a whole milieu, is also very unlike anything else in recent American filmmaking. A young blue-collar worker (Michael Rodrick) returns to Brooklyn after a short trip to discover that his best friend (Peter Bassett) has raped his girlfriend. In the ensuing tragicomic chain of events, everyone behaves badly and foolishly, and McCann’s direction in nailing down this destructive behavior rarely falters. The lack of a clear moral center makes this a challenging film, but also one with an undeniable moral vision. (JR)

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