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Tribeca 2012. Alex Karpovsky’s “Rubberneck”

“Maybe it’s the lab coats that make this oft-told tale seem new and newly creepy.”
The Daily

"SXSW everyman Alex Karpovsky makes his Tribeca debut with a shocking turn in Rubberneck." From Steve Dollar's "Critic's Notebook" at GreenCine Daily: "The tightly wound suspense tale of a workplace obsession gone wrong finds the former stand-up comic playing a Boston research scientist whose emotional well-being has been stunted by a family secret. Because of his endless string of performances in indie comedies, I naively assumed that Karpovsky wrote and directed Rubberneck as some sort of deeply twisted humor of excruciation. And I can tell you, that attitude made the first half of the film amazingly weird to watch. Once the plot pivots, though, there will be no confusion."

Karpovsky "turns in a nicely broody, moody performance as Paul, a lab worker who has a weekend fling with a colleague (Jaime Ray Newman) and can't handle her subsequent rejection," writes Neil Genzlinger in his roundup of "twisted movies" at Tribeca in today's New York Times. "Maybe it's the lab coats that make this oft-told tale seem new and newly creepy. Evil is one thing; evil plus science is quite another."

"Slowly, spadeful by spadeful, the script digs deeper into this disturbed character," writes Henry Stewart for the L. "His private longing, suggested by the occasional furtive glance held a beat too long, manifests in secret activities like soliciting prostitutes and stalking; his fixation, of course, eventually erupts in violence. Karpovsky and Garth Donovan's screenplay is way too obvious in its pat, momma's boy psychologizing. But Karpovsky's direction at least allows us to wrestle awhile with the banality of psychopathy."

David D'Arcy's sent a short review over to Anne Thompson and he sees traces of Hitchcock or Chabrol in the storyline. Interviews with Karpovsky: Stephen Saito and Dan Schoenbrun (Filmmaker).

Back to Steve Dollar for a moment: "And for those who prefer the 'early, funny' Karpovsky, there's Supporting Characters, a soft-hearted bromantic roundelay about indie film editors and their female troubles."

Updates, 4/25: Rubberneck "is essentially a stalker tale, in the mode of such films as Psycho and Peeping Tom," writes Christopher Bourne for Twitch. "[A]s a result, the narrative trajectory goes pretty much the way one would expect once the obsessive nature of its main character becomes fully established.  But as the cliché goes, it's about the journey, not the destination, and Karpovsky delivers a compelling and skillfully rendered trip through his character's trauma-scarred psyche."

Interviews with Karpovsky: Erik Davis ( and Bilge Ebiri (Vulture).

Update, 4/27: For Jaime N Christley at Slant, "Supporting Characters glides from a mildly off-putting opening across several scenes that waver between sitcom superficiality and sudden, unexpected gusts of feeling, ultimately ending on a note of perfectly judged emotional ambivalence that's almost worthy of a season-ending episode of Mad Men." More from Gabe Toro (Playlist, C).

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