Public Access

Institute History


With a tone reminiscent of David Lynch's Blue Velvet, filmmaker Bryan Singer explores beneath the surface of the small, middle American town of Brewster. His tool for making this inquiry is the person of Whiley Pritcher. He's young and very good looking in a slick sort of way. He wears wire-rimmed glasses and has the intelligent look of someone on a mission. And indeed he is. Presenting himself by means of the town's public-access cable network, he challenges his viewers to call him with the answer to a single question: "What's wrong with Brewster?" His manner seems to be that of the investigative reporter, and what with people already accustomed to television's need for dirty laundry, what follows precipitates a quite-unexpected turn of events.

There's something unsettling about the person of Whiley Pritcher, something faintly ominous and perhaps even worse. Singer directs a carefully nuanced, mysterious and veiled dissection of him. Superbly photographed, the film focuses on Pritcher in the studio from all angles and distances. Visually and narratively, Singer sustains tension throughout the course of the film's interrogation. What emerges is a multileveled story whose subtexts are as intriguing as the plot. Various scenes of small-town life create a vivid and realistically conceived vision. But this is not a condescending or patronizing portrait. Rather Brewster is a metaphor, and what lies within in it feels universal. There is no clear-cut or formulaic message, but instead an inducement to reconsider what might be termed values and the appearance of propriety.

Public Access is a highly entertaining piece of work from a filmmaker who understands the meaning of subtlety and trusts his audience's intelligence. It features an outstanding performance from Ron Marquette and production values that are unfailingly top rate

Saturday Jan 23 4:45 pm
Holiday Village Cinema II

Monday Jan 25 10:30 am
Holiday Village Cinema III

Wednesday Jan 27 7:15 pm
Holiday Village Cinema II

Friday Jan 29 9:00 pm
Prospector Square Theatre


— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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