The film tells about the post-traumatic stress disorder that covered the four survivors of the massacre of American high school students, about how each of them copes with adversity. Events develop dynamically, consistently, without comebacks and distracting inserts, references to the past, unnecessary lengthy explanations for certain actions. Everything happens in front of the audience. They anxiously watch the affected children, see how their day is developing, how the few meetings with friends go offline, old ties are broken, new contacts are being made. History makes us sympathize with teenagers, their environment, worry about the prosperous future of the generation. The finale of the story, meanwhile, is not embellished, pessimistic and absolutely logical. The film is as if looped: the beginning and end are in the same plane, they are inseparable.
The event that became the starting point
A juvenile “hunter” who has flown off the coils comes to school with a shotgun and opens fire on defenseless, unsuspecting classmates. Two 16-year-old girls hide in a toilet stall, trembling with paralyzing fear. Both climbed up on the toilet with their feet so that the killer would consider the cabin empty, look around in horror and listen to the sounds of gunshots. Both, fortunately, were not direct witnesses of the massacre, but were deafened by the shooting, the death cries of dying fellow students and terribly frightened by the appearance in the women’s restroom of a male figure in a bloody white shirt. The boys rushed from the scene. One of them was slightly wounded: the bullet passed on a tangent, a few centimeters from the heart. Another miraculously survived: not a scratch on the body. All four behave differently in the future.
4 lines of conduct
African American Quinton Hasland perceives what happened as another test for his people, accustomed to oppression, suffering and deprivation. He is reserved and silent at the funeral of his brother – one of the victims of the insane shooter – quiet and laconic during short conversations with classmates. And they are afraid to ask Q in detail about the loss, believing that by doing so they will accidentally stir up the wound. But he is just not averse to talking about a relative. The guy refuses any entertainment, love dates with a peer, everything that can pull him out of depression. Because he considers it necessary to mourn with dignity for the dead comrades, to help the family survive the shock of the tragedy.
Mia Reed is even more withdrawn into herself, she does not leave the bedroom even for her favorite workouts in the dance studio. A pretty blonde has never been favored in a teenage get-together before, they were not invited to parties, general holidays and outings into nature. The reason is simple: brought up in an unusual family. In the hinterland of a generally tolerant America, such sentiments are, in general, not uncommon. The girl resigned herself to forced isolation, to the fact that she does not have and will not have friends, and now, it seems, after the terrorist attack and the stress she suffered, even more so. Loneliness is felt a hundred times more acutely because the parents went on a long business trip to Japan. In a deserted cottage, a frightened young dancer is all alone. There is only a telephone nearby.
Wada Cavell seizes every opportunity to quickly erase the oppressive impressions of the massacre from memory. She quarrels and reconnects with the household, attends sessions with a psychotherapist, changes lovers twice a week, tries drugs, drinks, looks for a way to forget herself in non-traditional sexual games. It gets easier, but not for long.
Finally, Nick Feinstein is the most active and active of the four. The young man sets goals and strives to achieve them: he organizes protest marches “against the spreading violence”, speaks at rallies and meetings, participates in television programs where he asks sharp questions: why weapons circulate freely among teenagers, how is the security of colleges and other objects that have gathered under the roof of underage citizens, who will be specifically responsible for the bloody massacre in the walls, where lessons should go peacefully? Is it possible that only the perpetrator of the villainous plan will be punished?
The defendant gladly gives interviews to journalists, earning bucks even behind bars. The fact that for someone – curiosity, interest, for others – enduring pain, torment, lack of clearance, a dead end.
About those around
The mutual assistance of friendly and glorious Cavels is convincingly shown. Little Amelia explains to her sister how much she values her friendship. It is Vada who will entrust her girlish secret (of course, such selectivity is offensive to her mother). Patricia herself is helpful, caring, fussy and very unhappy, trying not to show how devastated and broken she is, afraid to hurt the feelings of the heiress with a word or gesture. Carlos, like a man, radically “knocks out a wedge”: he allows his eldest smart girl to swear at the top of her voice on the street. If it helps to let off steam, to laugh, to relax, to throw off a stone from the soul … Then so be it! And the head of the family himself sets a “bad” example.
He is a wonderful person, attentive to loved ones, wants to protect them. The psychologist works with dignity, her experience, diligence, knowledge and skills are felt to help relieve anxiety from the patient, rid him of complexes. Friends and comrades are ready to help in difficult times. What is the heroic transportation of a deformed, deranged schoolgirl who has taken a large dose of ecstasy straight to the threshold of her father’s house. And subsequently, a friend does not forget to inquire about the well-being of a friend, raises adults in search. A new, healing, inspiring friendship-love with the recluse Mia also played an important role, helped restore peace of mind.
Why the ending is not at all optimistic
Everything that the heroes do in an attempt to get rid of mental trauma (with the exception of buying pills and smoking weed) is good, justified and correct, there are no comments. But this, as life shows, is not enough. If Nick does not have like-minded people, it will not be possible to eradicate the source of the problem – the bloodshed is guaranteed to happen again. And many times. One of the odious characters is the red-haired Dan Bonavour, who is calmly operating on the territory adjacent to the campus, selling “shkami”. How many innocent souls he ruined! And gladly continue his dirty work in pursuit of dirty money. There is no one to stop the businessman, there is no time, reluctance to get involved, it is better to pass by.
The panic attack that Wada undergoes in the last minutes of the film drama is a response to the inaction of the authorities, to the loyalty of society to such dens. Parental care, psychotherapy, books, music, circles and sections, change of occupations, travel, friendly gatherings – all this is wonderful. But if you do not fight the dominant tendencies, indifference, superficiality, connivance, greed, unprofessionalism in the field of protection and security of people, then the bloodthirsty Moloch will continue to reap its terrible harvest without stopping for a moment. Here is an unsolved problem for everyone and everyone. And not only in the USA.
The film advocates the awakening of the consciousness of those who today “don’t care”.
Kevin passes out and the doctors discover Nerium in his blood stream. The police believe that Natalie was slowly hounding her husband Kevin. But when she is attacked by a random stranger who tries to rape her, the truth is revealed. A stranger comes to the house when he sees an advertisement on the Internet in which Natalie says that she wants to be attacked.
It turns out that this man is Otto (mystery man), Aaron’s lover, who lived in a hidden space behind a closet. Aaron designed this to keep her lover, but when she chose a husband anyway, Otto killed them. His intention later passed to Kevin and Natalie.
Back at home, Kevin discovers Dani’s body in bed and knocks out Otto. Natalie manages to escape by breaking her wrist. Later, Kevin and Natalie team up to kill Otto. It is not surprising that after all that has happened, they decide to move out of the house. The toilet door closed slowly, teasing that either Otto wasn’t dead, as they thought, or someone else had surreptitiously moved in.