“A Rampage That Taught Me Some Life Lessons”
As an aspiring actress I have never been much for action movies. While action films have a lot of brilliance behind them in regards to special effects and stunts they are just not my cup of tea. I am moved by films where the focus is more on dialogue and the acting. My choice of an out of the norm film for me to view was pretty simple, and I went with an action flick. I searched through my roku menu and went with a film called “Rampage”. “Rampage” received three and half stars from roku, and three stars on imbd.com. It was filmed in the year of 2009 when the economy was at the height of financial ruin. The synopsis of this film listed on roku is “Desperation drives a bitter small town man to don a bullet proof vest, grab a semi-automatic weapon and attempt the largest killing spree ever.” The film was stars Brendan Fletcher, Shawn Sipos, and Lynda Boyd. It was directed by Uwe Boll. I must say this film really surprised me. I assumed it was going to just be about some crazy man going around and shooting up people, but it actually turned out to be much deeper than that.
The movie opens with some really great shots of the main character, Bill Williamson burning all of his clothing in a secluded area possibly to cover up evidence of something illegal. The film then flashes back in time to the week before. You find that Bill is a young man, most likely in his early twenties, still living at home, and not really going anywhere in life. It is also evident that Bill is not very happy about his present situation. As the day goes on you see how angry Bill is as he gets into multiple arguments over petty things with various vendors throughout town. Bill then joins up with a friend of his who seems to feel his pain. While all of this is going on you hear clips of various television and radio broadcasts talking about how greedy, materialistic, and selfish humans are. This could have possibly been trying to point out that this was a huge reason why our economy crashed. I really liked how they put these clips in intermittently during the film. At this point in the movie I was questioning the dialogue and acting because it didn’t seem very deep. However, it did suddenly dawn on me that this film was most likely a satire of people’s reaction to the economy so the silly deliverance of the characters lines actually fit.
The conflict of the film was a huge shocker. I was particularly intrigued by the way they set up a certain shot when Bill was driving back to his house after his day out harassing local vendors. The picture was shaking like they jerked the camera around on purpose. I first chalked this up to B rated filming, but I realized it worked really well because it made me very nervous anticipating what was going to come next. Bill was in his room building a bomb, and you see him pulling out an armored suit, and a huge gun. Bill is also communicating with his friend about their plan to go on a shooting rampage. There are more intense clips of broadcast going more into depth about greed, the state of the economy, and the country being at war. I started to like the main characters acting more and more because he kept you guessing. He was able to put a comedic spin on crazy behavior.
My hypothesis that this movie was a satire seemed to prove correct when Bill and his friend went into town and started shooting at anyone and anybody. At one point Bill went into a hair salon with is enormous gun, and badgered all of the women present. When Bill left one lady just said “what a d*ckhead” and business went back to business as usual. This is not a typical reaction most humans would have however this could have been implying that people had become numb to violence and crazy behavior. Next Bill went into a bingo hall. No one seemed to even be bothered that a man walked in with an enormous weapon. They just kept right on playing bingo. This is also not your typical human response. This could have be pointing out that people have just become so focused on making or winning money that not even the extreme threat of their life could take their eyes off the prize.
Bill and his friend were supposed to meet up, but Bill took a detour and robbed a local bank. When he joined up with his partner in crime, he ended up killing him. The movie is then at the place it started where Bill is burning all of his evidence. Bill then proceeds home with the large stash of cash he has acquired. No one suspects he was the killer because he had a mask on the entire time concealing his identity. You then see his parents baby him because they are so worried about him witnessing all of the killings that he was actually behind. It also came out that his friends (who he killed) body was found. His mother then mentions to Bill’s father that they probably need to get him some counseling because of everything they think he’s been through. The ironic thing is that his mother is a psychologist, and is totally oblivious to the fact that her son is completely loony. I loved this plot twist. It also made it even more humorous that Bill’s parents were almost modern day cardboard cut outs of Ward and June Cleaver.
The film ends with Bill posting a broadcast on the internet of how he is over society, it’s hostility, and it’s greed. However Bill has committed many murders of innocent people, and robbed a bank. This was a brilliant way to prove how hypocritical and self-righteous members of the human race can be. You then see a caption that Bill disappeared never to be seen again.
I was pleasantly surprised by this film, and it has made me realize that I shouldn’t be so close minded when it comes to action movies. Science fiction has been used so many times over the years to make political statements so why can’t action films be a portal as well? I’m actually really disappointed with myself for never taking this into consideration. This movie not only had a unique editing and filming style, but also made some really important points about the state of our country during 2009. Individuals had been so used to living in comfort that when the economy crashed so many people who had never seem hard times could barely deal with a less than upscale lifestyle. I also feel that Bill’s rampage was a brilliant example of the war our country is involved in. A lot of people feel that there is no rhyme or reason to what our country is fighting for, and many men and women have been killed needlessly, thus there was really no explanation for Bill’s actions. Bill’s mother being a psychologist and not seeing how crazy her son was is another important factor of the movie. They could have been trying to show us that people have chosen to bury their heads in the sand, and tune out all of the horrible events going on around them. I could go on and on about other morals this movie taught, but I feel that I have picked out the best intents of the film.
This movie did have the elements of an action movie with all of the shooting that happened during the rampage, but it was not overdone like some action flicks. It was just enough to show the viewer that horrible killings were taking a place, so we could focus more on the films intents. I’m very shocked that this movie is not more well known, and would even recommend it as something to be shown in college psychology, or sociology classes because of its deep meanings. "Rampage" had a great impact on me, and it made me very aware that I have perhaps tuned out a lot of what’s going on around me. My life is always crazy busy, but now I realize my scattered schedule is not so relevant. It's actually very small potatoes compared to all of the issues taking place in our society. This film will never let me forget this.