Hurlyburly is a film about four misogynistic young males who live together and use and abuse females at will.

Like the film Naked, starring respected British actor David Thewlis, the film showcases different levels of cruelty by the four characters. Ultimately we're supposed to understand that some forms of misogyny are tolerable while others are too excessive, and empathise with the characters accordingly.

There are some fundamental differences compared to Naked: the film is set in America (L.A., to be precise), and therefore the four males don't have to worry about a source of income and live in a posh apartment in Hollywood Hills. The philosophising by the characters is far less sophisticated compared to the kind done by Johnny in Naked, but in this film that works to show how hollow the people being depicted are.

But like Naked, the film, based on a play by David Rabe, is commentary about human society in general ("to make an omelette you need to crack a few eggs. And humanity is just a cracked egg, and the omelette... stinks."). It essentially illustrates how people can lead seemingly normal lives on a day-to-day basis but are messed up terribly on the inside.

The four protagonists are Eddie (Sean Penn) who is the "nicest" of the lot, Mickey (Kevin Spacey) the most cynical, Phil (Chazz Palminteri), a visitor who is seriously disturbed, and Artie (Garry Shandling), the most apathetic. The acting by all parties is excellent.

The movie doesn't go anywhere with these characters, and in the end there is no resolution except to illustrate that this is exactly the kind of life you don't want to lead. Hurlyburly is an interesting rental if you can relate (either through personal experience or through an acquaintance) of the kind of lifestyle the people in there lead. Otherwise I recommend giving it a miss.

Movie ramblings || Ram Samudrala ||