Chumscrubber (2005, USA)

ChumscrubberReview # 1: Yet another movie showing the underside of suburbia. Behind those perfectly trimmed gardens, uniform houses, upper middle class walls the most unusual things can and do happen. What’s even more interesting is what’s going on in the people who struggle to keep up appearances and with times.

Review #2: The movie is set in a slightly different alternate version of America, where the use of prescription drugs are considered an essential and socially accepted behavior. It shows through this fictionalized value system how distorted our own may be. In this regard it is built in the tradition of science fiction, where exaggerating our current trendency (isn’t that a good word? trend+tendency) of overmedicating ourselves and our children instead of finding and solving the causes of problems. The movie provides us with a mirror on how this model is applied to both to the individual and to the communal level.
Review #3: Teenagers do the stupidest things. To name a few they commit suicide, produce anti-social behavior, take unnecessary risks, follow their hormonal drives, fight, do not attempt strongly enough to resist peer pressure. All of these and many more are present in Chumscrubber. This teen angst/coming of age movie also has grown-up characters, with their own problems, but they might be considered extensions of their teenage kids’ behavioral problems. By the end of the movie those teenagers that survive grow a bit, learn their lesson about responsibility and how to cooperate in society.

I believe all three reviews above are basically true, but even together they do not reproduce the complexity of this movie. I want to further explore the hidden meanings I feel are there after I uncover the layers of the movie is framed by. Maybe I can, at a second viewing. I also want to mull over the lines of the narration to find its deeper meaning:

I live in a city, but in an apartment high above the cloud left by the blast. I’m one of the lucky ones. One morning, I awoke to find my head was no longer attached to my body. I’m not dead, but who could call this a life? So I do what I can, in this city of freaks and subhuman creatures. I became… The Chumscrubber.

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