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Pariah Movie Review

steve sam gang jones

Pariah was far and way the most disturbing entry at San Francisco's Indie Fest in January, 1999. It is a difficult film to watch, but an extremely rewarding one. It begins with a date between Steve (Damon Jones), who is white, and Sam (Elexa Williams), who is black. They are pounced upon by a gang of neo-Nazi skinheads who subject Sam to gang rape and force Steve to watch. Neither Sam nor Steve can handle the incident. Shattered by the rape Steve was powerless to prevent, Sam kills herself that same night. Steve's life and plans come to a virtual halt. Finally, he decides to infiltrate the racist gang and avenge Sam and himself. What happens, naturally, is that by seeing the gang members at close range, Steve begins to understand the conditions that fuel their senseless crimes. Angela Jones is outstanding as a drug addict who hangs with the gang, but seeks some compassion from Steve that he cannot give her—he's simply too broken up inside with rage and grief. Pariah was inspired by real-life events in the filmmakers’ lives; if reality was anything like this movie, it's astonishing that Randolph Kret's powerful gangland nightmare is as controlled and as balanced as it is.

1998 105m/C Damon Jones, Dave Oren Ward, David Lee Wilson, Aimee Chaffin, Angela Jones, Anna Padgett, Dan Weene, Anne Zupa, Brandon Slater, Jason Posey, Elexa Williams; D: Randolph Kret; W: Randolph Kret; C: Nils Erickson; M: Scott Grusin.

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