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It's the Rage

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It’s the Rage is a dark comedy-drama packed with satire and irony, utilizing a stellar ensemble cast of Joan Allen, Jeff Daniels, Robert Forster, Josh Brolin, Andre Braugher, and Anna Paquin, among others. Released in 1999 and directed by James D. Stern, the film analyzes and interrogates American society's complex relationship with guns, presenting a cacophony of differing viewpoints and interspersing the story with an undertone of tension and paranoia.

The narrative combines the interwoven tales of a host of disparate characters who all share a thematic connection with firearms. Joan Allen plays Helen, a CFO who discovers her husband Warren (played by Jeff Daniels) in bed with his secretary and shoots him in a fit of rage. This act sets off a chain of events leading Helen down an unexpected path where guns take center stage. Allen's performance is riveting, reflecting the struggle of a woman entangled in a vortex of confusion and fear yet resolute in her pursuit of truth amidst a culture of violence.

Jeff Daniels as Warren is equally phenomenal. After being shot, he develops an obsession with guns, trying to understand their allure and power. His performance starkly contrasts with his usual roles, letting him showcase more dramatic versatility. He crafts a character who is deeply flawed and imposing, making the audience rethink their perceptions of him.

Robert Forster's character, Mr. Morgan, is a disgruntled businessman whose life winds up getting tangled with two hitmen, played by Andre Braugher and Josh Brolin, adding an edgier layer to the storyline. Brolin and Braugher's chemistry shines on screen, building an unusual camaraderie that lends comic relief to the otherwise grim narrative.

Further adding to the ensemble is a young Anna Paquin, who wins hearts as Annabel Lee, a charming, naïve shoplifter. Her character, despite being the youngest, brings a fresh perspective to the proceedings while further complicating the narrative web that the film weaves.

Director James D. Stern adroitly stages each character’s story, juxtaposing their lives in such a way as to highlight the differing opinions that exist about firearm possession. The narrative expertly navigates through the dark lanes of gun paranoia and fear, juxtaposed against a backdrop of capitalist consumerism and aggression. Stern combines these multiple storylines to show the audience the interconnectedness of life and how one person's actions can set off a chain of events that can dramatically transform other lives.

It's the Rage uses comedy, drama, and satire to challenge viewers to critically think about the role of guns in American society. It also delves into deeper themes of power, control, fear, and how fragile human existence can be when a single pull of a trigger can abruptly end a life. The film does so, however, without overtly preaching to the audience or simplifying the complexities of the issues it explores.

The screenplay, based on a play by Keith Reddin, is sharp and incisive. It balances humor and drama with an obvious delicacy without descending into the realm of full-blown farce. The characters and their stories are poignant and real, drawing audiences in with their relatability.

Complementing the performances and script are the impressive production values. The visuals are crisp and stark, capturing the wide-ranging character demographics from corporate boardrooms to urban slums. The film's score is mood-appropriate and carefully chosen to underline the narrative's underlying tension.

It's the Rage represents an often-overlooked gem from the late 90s which, despite the passage of time, manages to remain relevant. It's a thoughtful take on a deeply divisive issue, managing to humanize both sides of the gun control debate while subtly highlighting the pervasive fear and confusion surrounding gun culture. Its star-studded cast delivers layered performances that accentuate their characters' individual journeys and experiences.

In conclusion, It's the Rage is a fascinating look at the world of guns and the people connected to it, a world encapsulated in fear, control, and illusion of power. With its pitch-perfect dark humor and razor-sharp societal critique, it's a film that's bound to engage audiences and leave them with plenty to think about. This is not just a movie about guns; it's a movie about people and the extent to which they'll go to control what they fear.

It's the Rage is a Comedy movie released in 1999. It has a runtime of 99 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 5.5. It also holds a MetaScore of 39.

James D. Stern
Joan Allen, Andre Braugher, Josh Brolin, Jeff Daniels, Robert Forster, Anna Paquin, Giovanni Ribisi, David Schwimmer, Gary Sinise, Bokeem Woodbine
It's the Rage is available on .