MONICA Keena, a late Dawson's Creek regular, shows her flair for the dramatic in this film as Roseanne Skolnik. Rosanne's perfect cheerleader existence turns upside-down overnight when her mother's marriage to her stepfather disintegrates. His drunken rage is released upon Roseanne, and her life is forever changed.
Keena does very well portraying the many stages of Roseanne's growth. Her bouncy step in the high school hallways turns to a slow trudge. Blue-powdered eyelids and rosy cheeks become smudged black caves and sunken hollows. Roseanne cuts off her relationship with football player Jimmy. She abandons her normal social circles as her peers increasingly alienate her. And she finds Vincent.
Vincent Kartheiser plays the dark outsider, Vincent, who has been watching Roseanne for weeks. He knows all about her sudden change, and he knows how to save her.
Loosely based on Dostoevsky's novel of the (nearly) same name, Crime and Punishment in Surburbia tackles themes of good and evil - all in suburban California. The film doesn't delve deeply into the general adolescent angst that pervades so many recent releases, but it does show vulnerable (if dark) sides of the teen years that ring true.
Keena and Kartheiser work well together - she with unrelenting ferocity, he with a sense of calm purpose. The film's overtone is serious, but there is a Heathers-esque black comedy at work underneath. I suppose that would make Vincent the Christian Slater and Roseanne the Winona Ryder, but it's more the opposite. It is Vincent who helps Roseanne find the goodness within herself.
The movie is a miss in that it never wanders beyond the shallow end of the pool, but a few fleeting moments, quiet ones, of genuine tenderness make my recommendation lukewarm rather than cold.