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The pitch, though I guarantee this movie was never "pitched" in the regular sense, goes like this: Man gets out of prison, has no self-esteem, finds a girl. The end. And guess what? It's so much more satisfying, so much more emotional and sweet, than anything else going on in the indie house.

Vincent Gallo wrote and directed this color-infused fable, and stars as Billy Brown, a man who spent five years in prison as retribution for a football bet he couldn't pay off. When he gets out, he swears to kill the field goal kicker who dashed his chances, but instead, almost accidentally kidnaps a girl (Christina Ricci) and takes her to meet his parents.

Billy's desire to be accepted, to be cared about, to be important, is so overwhelming as to be paralyzing. He craves a hug, yet can't bear to be touched; he falls in love with Ricci, but doesn't have any idea what love is. Gallo's portrayal of his own Billy is so rich, so dynamic in emotion that you swear you know this guy from the back of the woodshop class in 8th grade. He's the one who either went on to start his own Fortune 500 company, or went on to sell drugs in prison—his future was a bipolar disorder itself.

And what else can I say about Christina Ricci, other than she truly is the "It" girl of our generation? She's sexier than all Paltrows, Thurmans and Silverstones combined, and smarter, too. Abandoning her usual sarcasm, she's as sweet as divinity here, turning a motiveless character into a feast of emotion. Even when the screenplay drags—and it does, occasionally—you can't help but stare.

—Ian Williams

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