Top positive review
on 23 December 2017
I don’t know why I originally chose to sit down and watch ‘The Chumscrubber.’ Maybe it was the name, or maybe it was the impressive cast list? Or maybe I was just bored. Whatever the reason, it left a profound impact on me. I watched it. Loved it. And then forgot about it completely until the next time. Then I repeated that – again and again. I’ve seen it at least three times now and every time I love it and, for whatever reason, have real trouble recalling what it was about until I find myself watching it again a few years later.
I guess it could be described as a really ‘unique’ type of film, or at least it would be if it wasn’t for the fact that it feels very similar to the legendary ‘Donnie Darko.’ In today’s world of ‘shared cinematic universes’ I reckon there’s a reality out there somewhere where the two of these films co-exist. Both are about a young, troubled boy whose world is turned upside down in an insular community of modern suburban America.
Whereas ‘Donnie Darko’ was definitely science fiction, I’m tempted to say that ‘The Chumscrubber’ is also – at least part – sci-fi. However, on my latest re-watch I’d say whatever ‘supernatural’ elements are here, they are so minor they’re barely worth talking about. Jamie Bell plays Dean, whose drug-dealing best friend kills himself, leaving the local thugs out of pocket when it comes to their stash. Therefore, the town’s clichéd school bullies kidnap another boy and try to blackmail Dean into retrieving the ‘merchandise.’
Seeing as I’m refusing to acknowledge ‘The Chumscrubber’ as science fiction, I’m going to call it a ‘satire.’ In other words... it’s not quite funny enough to be a comedy, but there’s enough in it to make you smile to stop it from being an out and out drama. Its message is how parents are too wrapped up in their own – legally medicated – worlds to notice what’s happening to their own children.
I can see a lot of people finding this film ‘too weird’ to be enjoyable, but, put simply, if you’re a fan of ‘Donnie Darko’ type movies, you should like what’s happening here, too. It’s clever, dramatic, funny, different, has a message about our modern way of life and did I mention practically every cast member is a recognisable face in his or her own right?