Who’s Watching Oliver?
A Film Review.
Yes, we’re familiar with the theme, and of course Who’s Watching Oliver is Psycho for the modern age and Oliver, played by obsessively technical method actor Russell Banks, is a million times more disturbed than Norman Bates will ever be. Banks gets inside the skin of Oliver in a frightfully believable fashion and thoroughly deserves the awards he picked up on the festival circuit for best lead. This is a physically challenging performance, and Banks, in his first lead role, delivers the part well. He is Oliver for better or worse and Oliver must dance to the tune of the devil. The devil (aka Mama) finds work for idle hands, and Oliver gets his filthy little mitts dirty on numerous bloody occasions while banging to the beat of Mama's decadent drum.
But its not all blood and guts. Oliver has a routine set around a Disneyland type theme park. He visits the rides and snaps pictures and generally blends in with bizarre environment around him. Foreigners living in this part of the world are considered strange oddities, so the locals who observe Oliver’s eccentricities aren’t too concerned by the shambolic spectacle of his incurable nervousness. By night, Bangkok is a different beast. Thousands of bars, a labyrinth of debauched personalities, and it is here, egged on by his online psychopathic mother, Oliver hunts. The picture reaches its darkest depths as Oliver brings back Clair, played by promising newcomer Kelly Woodcock, to his home and ties her to a table. Mama watches on encouraging her son’s misbehavior like a demented lip-glossed Frankenstein. But if Oliver is a monster, surely the beast who created him is more grotesque, more evil, a force that must be stopped before the killing spree goes too far and Oliver spends the rest of his years twitching in jail.