Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Dementia: The Aging Psycho Vietnam Vet
Vietnam War ended forty years ago, but politically correct filmmakers still can’t
let it go. At this point, Vietnam veterans are looking to retire and enjoy
their golden years. Yet, even as senior citizens, they still have exploitation films coming out of the woodwork to suggest they were really just baby killers
all along. Following in the unfortunate tradition of shlock like Motorpsychos and The Ravager, Mike Testin’s offensive Dementia piles it on when it opens tonight at the IFC Center.
Lockhart was a decorated POW during Vietnam, so obviously he must be kind of
nuts. For years he has lived alone in the home that he built, sort of like
Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino, but
with a blacker soul. However, when he suffers a stroke, Lockhart’s estranged
son and the granddaughter he hardly knows arrive to do their duty. For her part,
Shelby would sort of like to get to know the old cuss, but Jerry Lockhart can
hardly wait to leave. However, when Michelle the friendly RN comes to check on
the recuperating Lockhart (seriously, a house call in this day and age?), son
and granddaughter hire her pretty much on the spot to be his home care nurse.
References, who needs them? Except maybe it would have been a good idea to do a
little checking up on her.
Michelle is drugging the already disoriented Lockhart and blaming him for the
murder of small animals. Why would she be so vicious? Maybe it has something to
do with the clumsy flashbacks that periodically beat viewers over the head. You
think maybe old George has it coming?
is no getting around the fact this film denigrates the service of American
veterans. After watching the unpleasant inevitability come to pass, most
viewers from the heartland and pro-military communities will be disinclined to
try anything further from Testin and screenwriter Meredith Berg, with good
reason. Frankly, they are so intent on scoring their points, they completely
telegraph each twist, so the film consequently lacks any sense of suspense or
intensity. Instead, we are just marking time until the big comeuppance.
This is crying shame for many reasons, including
a decent lead performance from Gene Jones that is totally wasted. Jones was
absolutely electric in Ti West’s Jim Jones-inspired The Sacrament, which in many ways is the complete inverse opposite
of Dementia, so cult film fans should
catch up with it instead. This film
simply does not deserve your support when opens tonight (12/4) in New York at
the IFC Center.
Labels: Gene Jones