Inez is married to Edgar (though, with everyone's accents, it sounds like "Egger" to me - I thought it a great name until I looked at the print materials on the movie). They live in a dumpy little house deep in the woods. Edgar and his creepy friend Flowers are small-time but prolific criminals - they take part in small robberies and are trying to grow marijuana. Being the narrow-minded redneck that he is, Edgar does not treat his wife well and she has fallen in love with a nerdy local businessman, Druden.
This movie Briar Patch is a morass of suspicion, hurt and desire. Emotions are poured onto the surface of the film, and then the film is run through the shredder. The stakes are not high because the filmmakers want to keep pushing them to the limit. The stakes are high because they simply are, naturally, organically. The script and the direction have combined in one magical, mythic experience.
I'm undecided about some of the philosophical approach in the film - I can appreciate the superstition that's natural in these characters, but there's a greater significance here that isn't clearly expressed by the film. Is it just an organizing element or a theme? It's muddled, but not something the average person will spend time thinking about, or even notice.
It's interesting to note that Inez and Edgar share the last name of MacBeth, and there is definitely a Shakespearian undertone to things. But the director, Zev Berman, answered questions after the screening and said the author of the original short story merely had a penchant for oddball names.
Also at the screening was Arie Verveen, who plays Flowers - I was startled to learn this was the man who made his film debut as the Irish lead in the wonderful Bob Young film "Caught". His transformation into character was total.
Henry Thomas and Dominique Swain also excel as Edgar and Inez. Overall, there's nothing actually unbelievable in the performances or the characters' motivations. I really don't want to type another word about what happens because I'd hate to remove any aspect of the experience anyone else might have.
Just find this movie and go see it.
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