Sunday, February 8, 2009

Movie Review: Control (2004)

2004's CONTROL with Ray Liotta
Written by Todd Slavkin & Darren Swimmer
Directed by Tim Hunter

Lee Ray Oliver...Ray Liotta
Dr. Michael Copeland...Willem Dafoe
Eden Ross...Kathleen Robertson
Barbara...Polly Walker
Teresa...Michelle Rodriguez

What would happen if a remorseless killer suddenly developed a conscience? Dr. Michael Copeland hopes to find out through his new behavior modification drug Anagress, which he believes can change the world for the better by leveling out the brain and allowing sociopaths to discern the difference between right and wrong.

Lee Ray Oliver is chosen as the test subject, a murderer who was supposedly put to death by the state through lethal injection. Coerced into trying the drug in exchange for the legendary “second lease on life,” Lee initially shows no change in behavior until the dosage is upped drastically. Suddenly he’s a lot more relaxed, less tightly wound, and overcome with grief for his past evil deeds. At the discretion of Dr. Copeland, the project proceeds into phase two, in which Lee is allowed back into the real world, given a new apartment and a new identity as Joe Monroe.

Ray Liotta from 2004's CONTROL
Although Joe wants to return to normal life, and in fact hopes to make amends, not everyone is willing to let that happen. The brother of one of his victims is out for vengeance, and the Russian mob wants a piece of him as well. But for the sake of everyone involved, you better hope they don’t cause him to miss his meds.

It raises some very real questions that have no genuine answers, dealing with morality and forgiveness and second chances, but mostly it’s just a fun little flick. The rules of the genre aren’t being rewritten here, but hell, at least there was some imagination involved in the storyline. Dafoe was great and so was Liotta, especially in psycho-mode, which he was born to play. It’s just too bad that the ending was such a sugary surprise...literally.

Rated R
101 minutes


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