Scars, the debut directorial credit from Sean K. Robb follows two troubled women as they embark on a bizarre revenge trip against men who have wronged them. Scarlett (Neale Kimmel) makes a living blackmailing married men, and after one of her victims brutally attacks her, is rescued by murderous punk Scar (Danielle Cole) who has just killed her abusive husband.
On paper this kind of thing sounds great, and could be both fun and powerful, nevermind its lack of budget. A scuzzy Thelma and Louise could have been femsploitation hark-back fun. Only, Robb doesn’t quite know what he wants to do. As a film, Scars is too dull to be fun, too self-righteous and badly acted to be serious. Instead of being a shameless contemporary revenge film in the vein of Lila & Eve, Monstro del Mar, or Julia, it’s a messy, irritating film which doesn’t take advantage of its best moments.
For instance, if we just accept that the dialogue is woeful and the acting is pants, we can at least say the film started off right. The sudden brutality of the first two murders, along with Danielle Cole’s conviction actually work pretty well. Not to mention the good amount of intrigue introduced via the characterisation of two very different women. But then the film starts to show how spontaneously it was written, how fragmented its story is and how random its characters are. At one point, when Scar and Scarlet (the names are irritating enough) decide home-invasion is the future, the two appear heavily made-up and decked out in pink and black at a strangers house. Those sequences really stand out in the bland drudgery of a film which has little in the way of visual style except a few nice shots.
Perhaps the key issue is that Scars feels like its being made up as we go along. Its basic, random, with little consideration for theme or story. It’s a collection of random scenes which happen to share the same actors. Continuity and attention to detail are pretty atrocious, and if there’s one thing that shatters illusion, it’s bad attention to detail.
It’s not as cathartic as it might think it is either. The Scar is a physically abusive wretch who might have been abused as a kid, and Scarlett is a blackmailer who bangs married men only to extort them. Its murky water to say the least. And though sure, there’s one or two scumbugs who deserve a butcher knife to the balls, Scars isn’t bothered with shamelessly unleashing its deranged heroines on the male sex. Instead, Robb seems to want serious drama, but doesn’t have the attention span or the actors to pull it off.
Thelma and Louise this is not.
Dir. Sean K. Robb
Stars: Neale Kimmel, Danielle Cole, Matt Wells