Jill, a lonely, distraught housewife with four unruly children, paces on her dining room table with a belt around her neck, contemplating a desperate end to her wretchedness. Her husband, Bill, focused on his identity as breadwinner and an affair with a lusty co-worker, is as oblivious to Jill’s growing terror that she will do something destructive as he is to the panic at his unraveling company. Meanwhile, dogs bark and howl through the night, as one persistent mutt continually stalks the family’s yard. When Jill’s psyche finally breaks, she takes on a vicious new canine persona.
Marianna Palka (who returned to the Sundance Film Festival in 2017 after 2008’s Good Dick) writes, directs, and stars in this provocative film. She balances a whip-smart, deeply unsettling take on the horrors of a crumbling nuclear family with a palpable sensitivity for her character’s plight and perfectly timed comedic flourishes. Jason Ritter delivers a beautifully tragicomic performance as Bill, who’s transformed by bizarre crisis from an indifferent hound of a man entirely untethered from his family to their unexpected emotional anchor.
Director: Marianna Palka
Screenwriter: Marianna Palka
Cast: Jason Ritter, Jaime King, Marianna Palka, Brighton Sharbino, Rio Mangini, Kingston Foster
After getting off the ground in 2009, Sleigh Bells released three blistering records in four years. Ready for a break from the road, they then took their time to push their music even further in Jessica Rabbit, their intense, vulnerable, uncategorizable fourth LP.