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The Rage in Placid Lake (Tony McNamara)

The Rage in Placid Lake

The Rage in Placid Lake (Tony McNamara)

Most of us know of Ben Lee from his attack on the music scene some years back with his band Noise Addict. I knew he dated actresses, but little did I know that acting was also in his bag of tricks. Lee is still heavy in the music, having released Awake is the New Sleep just this month, and is on tour with Har Mar Superstar.

In The Rage in Placid Lake, Lee’s still got center stage as the lead role, but this time around he reads from someone else’s lines, screenwriter Tony McNamara, who also directed Rage… using the script from a stage play he wrote called The Café Latte Kid.

There’s something about the British and the way they write romantic comedies, utilizing a darker, quirky sense of humor versus the fluffy, high school girl crush formula of American versions. Rage… is no exception, and McNamara and his cast take a story of an outcast to new heights with that endearing yet hilarious quality of last year’s Garden State (an exception to the American film rule).

Lee’s character Placid Lake (the name itself is enough to get one giggling) is a fearless smartass that had endured the typical school bully ritual, caused by the mere fact of being different. His cohort and childhood friend Gemma, played by Rose Byrne, is also a peculiar being with a gift of cerebral superiority, which she uses to confuse and annoy her classmates.

Rage… takes you on a journey of self discovery as the two leave high school for the great beyond, trying to determine who they a really are while fending off the expectations of mainstream culture and their parent’s pressure to be a certain person. It’s those moments when Placid Lake is trying to deal with his New Age, “channel your energy” parents (his mother is played by the great Miranda Richardson) and their narcissistic nature that make for some of the showcase the comedic timing of both Lee and the script.

Then there are the scenes where the character’s line read more like poetic scripture for life, from one man’s realization that he’s traded his dreams for job security to the opposite strategy of just going with what’s in your heart in a fearless manner.

The Rage in Placid Lake is what we call “owners,” something you pull from your DVD library (when it actually gets to DVD) on a rainy day when you’re not quite sure what to do with your day or the rest of your life. It may just inspire some epiphanies of your own.


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