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ROMAN
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Reviewed by: Ryan Doom

Directed by: Angela Bettis

Starring:
Lucky McKee
Nectar Rose
Kristen Bell

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
A loner, obsessed with his hot blonde neighbor, struggles with reality, dating and death.
Is it good movie?
ďSometimes death is not so natural,Ē says the new film Roman. Well, if it isnít natural, it must be something and if you guessed the correct password ďmurder,Ē congratulations. In Lucky McKeeís follow-up to his 2002 film May, death is the subject, but not the story as Roman focuses on the mental condition of a loner and his struggle to interact with the others after he commits the ultimate crime. In fact, Iíll come right out and say that Roman is an extremely effective psychological thriller that analyzes loneliness and despair, obsession and idle time and the possible horrors that stem from it. Roman (played by writer Lucky McKee) is a depressed delusional man who has slipped into an isolated world. He doesnít have friends. He doesnít own a TV. He doesnít listen to the radio. He works his manufacturing job and heads home to his small apartment where his only source of entertainment comes from obsessing over an attractive neighbor. He faces his favorite chair to the window to peer out at her and time it so that they get their mail simultaneously. But poor Roman, heís not efficient on the process of love; he isnít quite sure how to talk to the ladies. When he finally gets the chance for the big date, he blows it by, well, killing her. Oops.

Whatís great about Roman is that after the murder, we stay inside his mind, allowing the deed to run a spin cycle of the brain until the poor sap practically snaps. This is done through proficient acting as Roman could have paced around, ranting and raving and terrorizing the apartment complex; however, he keeps things inside. We see the torture behind his eyes and how he punishes himself for the murder. McKee fits the role perfectly; in fact, he doesnít seem to be acting. Itís sort of scary, but he reminds of Jerry Seinfeld, someone who really canít act beyond his own personality. Iím not saying that McKee is a lonely depressive who murders, but heís great when heís sullen and down. When he stretches his ability is when the Seinfeld factor kicks in as he doesnít appear to have a massive range (I could be horribly wrong there, of course), but thatís fine. He doesnít need it here. Seeing his sorrow through his actions, or lack of actions to be more precise, is enough. Little is known about the character besides that he hates TV and has no noticeable social skills. Thatís all we need. His pain comes out through his eyes and through sporadic but insightful narration. I also must mention Nectar Rose who plays an eccentric, yet seductive neighbor who tries to bring him out of his shell. (How does a loser like Roman get all these hot women? Suspend disbeliefÖ) Sheís absolutely great and is perfectly cast against Romanís personality. As a sort of poor manís Poison Ivy, sheís more like Roman than he would care to admit. Rose is a joy to watch and added the necessary spark to keep the film moving and alive.

Roman isnít perfect. Itís a tad on the slow side and lacks depth of plot, but the deep characterization makes up for it. It's riveting to watch Roman slip deeper into a paranoid and self loathing state after murdering his dream girl. Hell, who wouldnít? Heís a murderer, but you still feel for him. Thatís what makes the film effective. Itís in the same category as a Taxi Driver or The Machinist, films with dark, misguided characters who yearn for affection. Roman succeeds here. Anytime you have a sympathetic murderer who you root for, you have a mission accomplished.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen

Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound
The Extras
Note: I watched the screener copy, which means these extras weren't on it, so no review here.

Interview with the Cast

Deleted Scenes

Outtakes

Filmmaker Commentary
Last Call
Roman is a great low-budget psychological thriller that pulls you and and doesn't let go. It's dark, creepy and still manages to have a sense of humor. It's well worth a glance.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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