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  Confessions of a Trickbaby What's Cooking?
Year: 1999
Director: Matthew Bright
Stars: Natasha Lyonne, Maria Celedonio, David Alan Grier, Vincent Gallo, April Telek, Bob Dawson, Jennifer Griffin, Max Perlich, John Landis
Genre: Thriller, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 3 votes)
Review: Crystal, also known as White Girl (Natasha Lyonne), is imprisoned in a young offenders institution for teenage girls after a string of robberies where she posed as a prostitute to rob her clients. Her cellmate is Cyclona, a schizophrenic serial killer who has murdered her entire family; they're both about to be placed in a high security prison for a long time, so Cyclona persuades Crystal to escape with her, going on the run to Mexico...

Known in some quarters as Freeway 2, this grainy-looking effort was writer/director Matthew Bright's follow up to Freeway, with none of the same characters, but with a similar update of a fairy tale storyline. In the first film it was Little Red Riding Hood, in this one it's Hansel and Gretel, and as in the first film, Bright takes the same dark morality of a Grimm Brothers' tale and adapts it into a trashy thriller that revels in the worst apsects of society.

The opening titles play out over the sight of the bulimic heroine throwing up into the toilet, which should give you some idea of what's in store. As Crystal, Lyonne is tough and streetwise, drawling and spitting out her lines and taking advantage of everyone she can. She has set herself against authority which denies her independence, and she is the most sympathetic character because she only attacks those who have little or no redeeming features.

Which is unlike the psychopathic Cyclona, whose childhood abuse has turned her into a hallucinating killer who murders almost everyone who comes into contact with her, despite Crystal's protests. She dreams that to escape to Mexico will reunite her with Sister Gomez, who looked after her when she was little, but it's not hard to see that the girls are heading into danger. When we finally meet Sister Gomez, she turns out to be Vincent Gallo in drag, and if you know the story of Hansel and Gretel you won't be surprised that she's not all she appears to be.

Bright's world is one where you can be murdered arbritarily, where police and lawyers are corrupt (Crystal's lawyer, played by David Alan Grier, may be on her side, but seems to take sexual favours from his clients), and where the worst of humanity turns innocents into depraved criminals. But there is redemption for the victims of the worst of the worst, and punishment for those who pervert the pure of heart. Just like a fairy tale, really. If the story eventually becomes monotonous, at least it's consistent. Music by Kennard Ramsey.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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Matthew Bright  (1952 - )

American writer and director of trashy projects. He scripted films for Richard Elfman: cult favourite Forbidden Zone, Shrunken Heads and Revenant; there was also Guncrazy and, bizarrely, TV movie After Diff'rent Strokes: When the Laughter Stopped. As a director, he gained a following with Freeway, Confessions of a Trickbaby, true-life crime movie Ted Bundy and the ill-judged Tiptoes, which was taken out of his hands by the producers.

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