Run time: 96 mins
In Theaters: Friday 17th November 2000
Distributed by: Artisan
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Fresh: 72 Rotten: 13
IMDB: 6.6 / 10
Director: Miguel Arteta
Producer: Matthew Greenfield
Screenwriter: Mike White
Chuck & Buck is a story of forgiveness, a tale of individuals locked in obsession, denial, and ignorance. The film revolves around two guys, Chuck and Buck, who were the best of mates growing up. When Chuck moves at the age of 11, the trauma ends up stunting Buck emotionally. Flash-forward about 17 years and we encounter Buck, who still plays with Matchbox cars and keeps a glowing blue orb lamp stuffed full of lollipops. Buck's mother has just passed away so he writes a letter to Chuck, whom he hasn't seen since the departure, asking him to come to her funeral.
As it turns out, Chuck has become Charles, a straight-laced guy living in LA with a BMW, a girlfriend, a white-collar job -- the type of guy who put his G.I. Joes away a long time ago. When Buck sees his new buddy at the funeral, he becomes newly obsessed, packing all his things up and moving into a hotel room in LA to try to reconnect with his old best friend. Then things get a bit weird. Really weird.
Buck stalks Chuck at his office, shows up at his house late at night with a collage of Chuck as a kid, writes a play about their "relationship," and generally provides enough edge to creep the crap out of the audience. The unusual nature of Buck's stalking lends a strange ambiguity to the motivations of the character. To what ends will Buck go to win back Chuck's friendship?
The beauty of the film lies in the script written by Michael White, who also plays Buck in the film. White creates a very original character that retains the attitude and motivations of a child with a silent sexual prowess that comes across innocently aggressive. The script also provides a number of U-turns, which appear out of nowhere to generally up the spook factor of the film. White also gives special attention to the supporting cast by creating characters that are all in looking for answers to their own personal dilemmas.
The film also marks a revolution with the entire production done in digital video format. Director Miguel Arteta is able to invoke some amazing angles by climbing into tight spaces with the compactness of the digital video camera. The lighting is equally excellent.
The only real flaw of the film is that we are never given a clear glimpse of the characters as children. Their homes, their parents, and the things they did together as children are never exposed. Dreamy flashbacks give evidence of the boys' friendship but don't define the reasons for their kinship.
Chuck & Buck is not a film for everyone. It leaves a strange uneasiness at the end of the film that sits with you for days. But it's too real to ignore.