China Lake

A pretty good American independent feature by Dieter Weihl about a family reunion in a desert setting. This low-key example of undershirt realism gives us an overweight Polish American TV addict (L.A. Davis) and his directionless teenage son (Joe Toppe), who are visited in their mobile home by the father’s sister (Sandi Stutz) and her punk teenage daughter (Amilia Richer-Hart) from Milwaukee. Not very much happens, apart from a discernible emotional thaw on the part of the two males. The two actresses are especially lifelike (except for a contrived monologue by the daughter during a car ride that perhaps no actress could handle), and the jazzy score by Patricia Weiss and Norbert Stachel is often striking (1989). (JR)

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