Dare is a character study drama about 3 high school students, one a virginal do-gooder and aspiring actress (Emmy Rossum; Poseidon, The Day After Tomorrow), her best friend (Ashley Springer; Teeth), and the bad boy cool kid (Zach Gilford; Friday Night Lights). It was written by David Brind and directed by Adam Salky (Recruiter). This was quite the confusing movie. Not because of the plot but because I actually had to sit and think about whether I enjoyed it or not. Yep it was one of those. Check out the trailer and my thoughts below:
Like I said I had some mixed thoughts on this. My first thought was that it tried way too hard to throw curveballs. And it did, but not necessarily in a good way. Another thought was that all the characters are extremely cliche, yet really well played.
OK well we’re gonna have to talk this one through a bit. The movie ultimately will tell the 3 characters points of view (but not of the same event). It starts off with Alexa, the aforementioned virginal aspiring actress. They try to ugly up Emmy Rossum during this early part of the movie. This early part turned out to be my favorite part of the entire thing. There’s some light comedy here and although there’s a very “been there, done that” vibe to the whole thing it’s attention getting. You see some famous actor is coming to their school because he was a former student of their drama teacher. The actor (played by the always excellent Alan Cumming) sees something in slacker Johnny (Gilford’s character) but not in Alexa. After rehearsal Alexa corners him for some private tutorage and he basically tells her she’s too innocent and if she ever wants to be a good actress she needs to have real experiences to draw from. So she gets her female best friend, played by Media Decay favorite Rooney Mara (who I still swear will one day be a star) to give her a makeover before a big party Johnny is throwing. She shows up suddenly smoking hot and seduces Johnny. Well less seduces as just outright fucks.
I now have to mention that I loved this scene so much. It showed things that lay under the surface of both characters, exposing rawness like sex can do. It’s honest and awkward and a really good scene.
Next we move onto Ben, Alexa’s best friend since childhood. We’re now going from his point of view. He seems jealous that Alexa is hooking up with Johnny, almost like he wishes it were him with Alexa. Alexa has apparently become a different person and is now all about Johnny. Mara’s character shares a moment with Ben where she agrees with that feeling and it’s also a pretty great scene that just makes you wish there was more of her in this movie (which really should have had a segment from her point of view because she seemed integral to the group but was sort of left on the fringes).
Through a series of events that I won’t recount as this is a review, not a recap, Alexa winds up staying at Ben’s house but Ben winds up hanging out with Johnny one night. Ben gets drunk (there’s a great moment when he’s smoking his first cigarette, watch how he holds it, that’s some good work right there) and hits on Johnny and winds up blowing him.
Now we’re onto Johnny’s story. Instead of being this rebel we’ve been told all along he’s just a lonely kid who’s dad and stepmom are never around and he just feels unloved. He hasn’t been seeking the sex that he’s found through Alexa and Ben, they’ve both come to him and acted first and done pretty much all the work. Anyway he winds up at Ben and Alexa’s and chooses to spend the evening watching tv with Ben’s parents. He finds that he enjoys the relationship Ben and Alexa have and wants to be a part of that. Feel that love.
One night he’s invited over to Courtney’s (Mara) house for a party with Ben and Alexa. When he shows up all 3 are intoxicated and Ben and Alexa are both hitting on him and fighting over him. This leads to a quasi almost threesome.
Anyway I don’t wanna give away the whole movie. Basically I hated how Alexa and Ben once they got a taste of sex became these completely different people and almost monsters. I also really wish Courtney was included as one of the participants as she seems very vital. Also after the piece with Alan Cumming telling Alexa how to become a better actress the film barely touches on her intense desire to be an actress till the very end.
Overall the acting is very good and all the performances are strong. The movie overall is rather weak punctuated by moments that are really brilliant. However it moves fast and if you like any of the actors involved you’ll enjoy this.
So besides being available via Amazon’s Video On Demand and , you can also get this on dvd and Blu-ray:
Also from Best Buy: