miniDV • 25 min • 2002

"So I decided you were dumb," Brite's opening sequence declares and much of the spiky thrill in viewing this wicked dramedy is deciding which of its non-heroes is the most pathetic.

From its lonely art-direction to its distancing camera angles to its hyper-banal script, Brite was conceived as a flippant experiment in narrative cinema, and initially pushes the viewer out when most films diligently attempt to suck them in.

Exploiting the use of the fool archetype, this film unromantically presents a trio of suburban misfits and challenges the audience to sympathize with any one of them. The characters of Shari, Danielle, and Phillip were stripped of traditional sentimentality, robbed of any trait deemed remotely likable, and then flicked into a mean and melancholy story rigged to exploit their respective flaws.

Aloof, obtuse, and often times uncomfortable, the most remarkable result of the piece is that honest emotion is garnered for all the film's characters. Slowly and sadly, the bizarre push-pull relationship the audience has with these fictional nitwits relaxes. These imperfect, ugly characters are left aching and vulnerable and their fumbles eventually illicit not only snickering but sympathy as well.

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