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Askew Review 15

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(Indican Pictures) 1998. Drama. Approx 103 minutes. NR, violence, sex, brief nudity.  White man Steve and Black woman Sam are a happy couple involved in a blossoming bi-racial relationship. After returning from a date, the loving couple is jumped by a group of skinheads, who beat Steve and make him watch as each skin rapes Sam. After the incident, Sam deals with it in her own special way (don’t want to blow anything here) and Steve does the same. As the group of skins continue their violent rampage over the next few months, Steve learns their ways and becomes one of them in the hopes of destroying them. Along with handling Steve’s infiltration, the skins must also deal with a group of black men who are trying to kill them, and a huge group of gay men who wish to do nothing more than beat them silly. Can Steve pull off his plan, or will he succumb to the way of the skin?
      Good flic here with an even better soundtrack (DI, Reagan Youth, Social Unrest, Minor Threat, etc). The only problem is, there may be some morons out there who associate punk rock with skinheads and racism. Ah well, if they do, they’re numbnuts anyway, so who cares? I must write, watching the Steve and Sam attack scene is troubling and it disturbed the shyt out of me. It is not graphic, but witnessing the enjoyment the skins got out of the violence and the “all to real” feel of the scene bugged me. Watching the helplessness of Steve is also horrifying in itself. Pariah also depicts that not only are the skinheads violent, but so are the black guys and even the gay men. Although, the gay men are more or less out for  revenge so who can blame them?. Watching the inner workings of the skinheads is also odd, but rather entertaining. What’s the deal with skinheads always playfully  jumping all over each other, then getting pissed and fighting? Odd behavior indeed. They already have enough people who want to harm them, one would think  they’d at least get along with each other while enjoying playtime. The acting is great all around, but Damon Jones (Steve) is at times melodramatic. David Lee Wilson (Skinhead David Lee) and Dave Ward (Skin Leader Crew) play great menacing skinheads. Look for former TSOL lead singer Joe Wood in a rather impressive cameo. Unfortunately, other than Lex (Anna Padgett), the female skins are nothing to look at. As much as I liked this movie, I was most disappointed by the lame “..this movie does not condone racism..”disclaimer at the end of the movie’s credits. This disclaimer is unnecessary and if some idiot thinks this movie is an act of racism veneration, then screw ‘em.  If you like Penelope Spheeris’ “Suburbia,” you’ll definitely dig this flic. Edgy, nasty, and at times troublesome, I say. – Denis  Sheehan 

      Note; I got the following a day after posting this review; “The disclaimer at the end of the film you mention, has been removed and will not be in the videos and dvds going to stores in April. The producer and director were forced to put that disclaimer on when the film played at film festivals and the vhs screener you watched was a dub from the print. David Ward, who plays the lead skinhead, was murdered on April 2, 1999 exactly ten days before "Pariah" debuted in Los Angeles. The man who murdered Dave has his trial start Mar. 15 2002. Everyone associated with the film loved Dave and miss him. Thank you,  Shaun Hill Producer -- Pariah.


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