Political Film Society - It's the Rage

PFS Film Review
It's the Rage


It's the RageOriginally on cable television in 1999 as All the Rage, the feature film Itís the Rage, released in Hollywood on July 7 and directed by James D. Stern, has two heavy bookends sandwiching a story about how several people die because of the easy availability of handguns. Before the movie starts, actual news clippings flash on the screen reporting how several persons died under odd circumstances because they were shot, sometimes unintentionally, by individuals possessing handguns. The film begins at a house (and cast) reminiscent of Pleasantville (1998). Warren Harding (played by Jeff Daniels) lies in wait to shoot his wifeís lover Justin at 5 a.m. and then pretends that he was shooting at an intruder, not knowing that he was Justin. Warren then beats a murder rap, thanks to attorney Tim Sullivan (played by Andrť Braugher), but his wife Helen (played by Joan Allen) walks out on him. The attorney, who is bisexual, in turn receives a handgun as a present from his mentally disturbed male lover Chris (played by David Schwinner), but later ends up accidentally shooting Annabelle Lee (played by Anna Paquin), a female prostitute. Many of the lines evoke laughter, but the audience stops chortling as several other characters, who are mentally disturbed, acquire handguns and use them, resulting in further murders. The bookend after the film consists not only of the hypnotic song "If It Were Up to Me" and titles explaining the fate of some of the characters in the movie but also a dedication by scriptwriter Keith Reddin to his college roommate who was shot to death at the age of 23, presumably from a bullet fired from an easily acquired handgun shot by someone who did not know what he was doing. As a statement against the use of violence to settle disputes, the Political Film Society has nominated Itís the Rage for an award as best film on peace for the year 2000. Filmviewers are urged to stay to the end to hear the final song, "If It Were Up to Me," which accompanies credits of the film; after reciting a long litany of alleged causes of violence in contemporary America, the song concludes "Iíd just take away their guns." MH

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