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Inspired by real events, Pariah tells the story of an interracial couple attacked by Neo-Nazi Skinheads and the scarring effect the attack has on their lives. Although the physical bruises heal, Steve abandons his former life to exact revenge and follows the rabbit down the hole into an underground world where loyalty is decided by the color of your skin and pain is part of growing up.
Godard said that one way to criticize a movie is to make another movie. "Pariah," a raw and unblinking look at the skinhead subculture, is a movie I'd like to show to those admirers of "Fight Club" who have assured me of their movie's greatness. This is the real thing, with the implicit skinhead doom-worship of "Fight Club" made visible. Its characters don't take the high road in rejecting straw targets like "consumerism," but the low road, in rejecting everything outside their small, infected circle of hate. The movie understands that it's not what you reject that defines you, but the act of rejection--the very decision to scorn and offend. "Fight Club" is "Pariah" made palatable. --Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times
Randolph Kret's raw, explosive "Pariah" plunges us into the paranoid and brutal world of skinheads. There's no doubting the ability of Kret--abetted by his go-for-broke cameraman Nils Erickson and driven by the aptly relentless music of composer Scott Grusin, incorporating songs of the punk bands Minor Threat and Social Unrest and others--in working up an audience and drawing persuasive performances from a sizable cast. Jones, Wilson, Chaffin and Ward are especially effective. Tragically, the talented Ward's first Los Angeles opening is his last. On April 2, he was stabbed to death as a result of road rage sparked by an incident that occurred on the Sunset Strip. --Kevin Thomas, LA Times
American History X like Pariah, a drama about skinhead life includes a scene in which a Nazi-loving, gun-toting sociopath (played by Edward Norton) demands that a black man open his mouth and place his bare teeth on the side of a curb. It's a powerful moment. But it's almost nothing compared with the first few scenes of Pariah, a film with similar themes and even higher ambitions. The film maintains a convincing realism: It's acted out by expert talents and shot, cleverly, as though the camera were a fly on the wall. The effect is brutal and marks a stellar feature debut for writer-director Kret. His greatest accomplishment is rationalizing the actions of these racist bastards without sympathizing with them. In the end, the audience may thank him for the assault. --Michael Freidson, Time Out NY
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Was I shocked by the film's content? Nope. Was I impressed by it's production originality? Nope. Was the film's message worthwhile? I was already familiar with the act of revenge and the back-and-forth nature of retailiation.
Strangely enough, I was drawn into the story and was thoroughly engrossed in the storyline. Am I ashamed that I liked the film? Maybe a little...
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