RICK Image


By Merle Bertrand | September 24, 2004

Rick O’Lette (Bill Pullman) — just call him “Rick” is a widowed executive at a generic New York firm. While he used to be a nice guy, he hasn’t really been since the death of his wife. Instead, he struggles mightily to pretend he’s happy in the sterile, testosterone-driven world of the rich male yuppie; the kind of life where all your “buddies” have monosyllabic names like Mick, Jack, and Buck, you swallow martinis for lunch, and your hobbies include on-line sports gambling, strip clubs and anonymous cybersex.

Oh, Rick backslaps with the best of ’em, especially when it comes to sucking up to his obnoxious boss Duke (Aaron Stanford), a man some twenty years Rick’s junior with a list of morals shorter than the skirts of the women he regularly beds. Together they share a laugh over Rick’s summary dismissal and humiliation of Michelle (Sandra Or), a young woman whom Rick had interviewed for an assistant’s position earlier in the day. When Michelle has the misfortune of drawing Rick and Duke’s table at the nightclub where she waits tables, Rick wastes no time humiliating her again, going so far this time as to get her fired. Enraged by this, Michelle casts a curse on the bitter executive, who proceeds to get in a spat with Duke.

From nowhere, Buck (Dylan Baker), an old college buddy of Rick’s appears after Duke leaves and suggests that Rick hire his firm, a firm which specializes in “eliminating” people. Though he really loathes Duke, Rick initially resists. But once he discovers that Duke has been engaging in cybersex with Rick’s daughter — and sole moral compass — Eve (Agnes Bruckner), all bets are off.

“Rick” is a haunting and chilling, yet biting black tragi-comedy from director Curtiss Clayton. The film does a wonderful job portraying the soulless world Rick inhabits, while imbuing him with just enough of a tattered soul to give the audience hope for his redemption. The result is a gripping thriller that seems more like a classic Greek Tragedy than it is a modern American movie.

Pullman is at peak form here, as he does his best slicked-back and sinister Michael Douglas impression, while the rest of the quirky cast gives the film a harrowingly realistic feel. It’s not often a film comes along that gets its audience to cheer for a bad guy. But as Rick O’Lette points out in this intriguing wicked comedy, he wasn’t always a bad guy. The captivating question for Rick in “Rick” is, can he become a nice guy again in time to save his soul?

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