Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Towelhead

Towelhead
Starring:
Summer Bishil, Maria Bello, Aaron Eckhart, Peter Macdissi and Eugene Jones


Rated: R 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: September 26, 2008 Released by: Warner Brothers

The darkly provocative Towelhead is set during the backdrop of the first Gulf War nearly two decades ago.

Starring Summer Bishil, Maria Bello and Aaron Eckhart, the film from ace scenarist, first-time director Alan Ball may be too odious for many as it offers some droll dollops, too. It definitely is challenging for audiences when it comes to politics, race, and sex.

Ball sets his very adult tale in the suburbs of Houston, centering on the adolescent turbulence of Bishil's Jasira, a 13-year-old.

Jasira's divorced mother (Bello) has her now reside with her father Rifat (Peter Macdissi) after her live-in boyfriend acted way too lasciviously with her daughter.

Rifat, the most problematic character in the movie is a Lebanese aerospace engineer, extremely magistral as a father. Yet, Jashira is often left at his cul-de-sac domicile while he's having fun with his American girlfriend.

Eckhart has the unsavory character of Mr. Vuoso, an Army reservist neighbor, who engages in statutory rape with Jasira as she's been baby-sitting his 10-year-old bigotted son. Also, while the U.S. invasion of Iraq is seen on TV, Jasira also has "relations" with a black school friend (Eugene Jones).

From Alicia Erian's autobiographical novel, Towelhead works from its indecency in sometimes startling, if occasionally humorous ways. Bishil brings perseverence to her enigmatic, somewhat Lolita like character and Macdissi is sharp with a smugness that recalls Peter Sellers in his heydey.

Yet, Ball isn't really on top of his game in this intrepid cinematic picture that may be too bleak for its own good.

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Towelhead        C+               A   B 

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