Goddamn. If for some wacky reason you ever need a reminder that life sucks, this movie’s for you.
Driving down the desert highway one day, Elliot notices a hitchhiking damsel in distress on the side of the road. Apparently, her previous ride had a problem with keeping his wiener in his pants and so a fight ensued as is normal in situations such as these. Elliot pulls over to intervene and he and the distressed damsel chase the weenie wagging pervert off. Becoming her new ride, Elliot gets to know the damsel as Andrea and the two begin a sometimes charming, sometimes uncomfortable road trip together to Los Angeles. Uncomfortable because from the get go it’s clearly obvious that they are both very damaged people and with their combined forces, the train is set to wreck at any second. We quickly learn that Andrea’s major damage is her little heroin problem. But despite this glaring danger sign, Elliot beds her anyway and then takes her home to his shabby apartment in LA to live with him. It’s an up and down rollercoaster ride with the two, mixed with dope and booze, but they manage to support one another. However, the longer they exist together, the more they learn about each other’s dark past, including Elliot’s own major damage. Problems arise.
The look of this feature compliments its bleak subject matter perfectly. It’s grainy, washed out and just overall fuckin’ dirty looking. Everything looks like it feels sweaty and uncomfortable and it does a lot to pull the viewer into this grueling journey. Set design and props look out of date and depressing, too. For instance, at the beginning of the feature, Elliot has a video camera – a giant shoulder crushing VHS camcorder or whatever it is…it looks like it could crush the skull of a moose. Tunes in his living room are also played off a cassette deck. In short, everything seems dead and rotting, much like the lives of these characters.
It’s a lot of misery to take in, a whole 106 minutes of it, but it never, ever becomes so much that you feel it pointless to watch any further, nor does it ever become boring or monotonous. This has everything to do with the tremendous performances from Zach Selwyn as Elliot and Bonnie Warner as Andrea. Many a nerd will recognize Zach from G4’s Attack of the Show. And many a nerd will be surprised to see him turn out such a strong dramatic role. He’s really great here. Watch for a scene with him and actress Lucia Sullivan where they recreate a drug trip scene so accurately that my palms started to sweat and my stomach knotted while watching it. And as Andrea, Bonnie Warner is absolutely on f*****g fire. You fear and love her all at once and you can’t take your eyes off her. No matter how much trouble she is this actress makes you understand Elliot’s need for her. And that’s the key to this feature’s success – the performances attract you to the characters, even though they’re not the most stand-up citizens in the world.
“Damage Done” is like a kick in the groin, a kick in the groin by someone you admire or even love. That way, it hurts so much more. An unforgettable movie.