- 2 hr
Billy Brown (Vincent Gallo), fresh out of prison, decides to take revenge on a hapless athlete whose Super Bowl foible costs him $10,000. At the onset of Billy's fateful journey, he kidnaps a tap dancer named Layla (Christina Ricci), whose role as a hostage includes posing as Billy's wife for his psychotic parents. Billy's father (Ben Gazzara) is a puppy-killing sadist whose only positive trait is a smooth singing voice. Meanwhile, Billy's mom (Anjelica Huston) plays a recording of the doomed Super Bowl play over and over in the pointless hope that the results will change. Neither of them do much to hide their contempt for their son, even though they have no idea he'd been incarcerated. They swoon over Layla, though, and she attempts to win support for Billy by telling over-the-top stories of an imaginary career in the CIA. After dinner, Billy sneaks away to make a phone call to his friend, Goon (Kevin Corrigan), who sent letters to Billy's parents so that they wouldn't suspect his being in prison. Goon's had enough of being Billy's do-boy and insists on being called “Rocky.” Flashbacks to Billy's encounter with a ruthless bookie (Mickey Rourke) flesh out the plot. With the main players now introduced, the film proceeds to show Billy's attempts to track down his victim. Along the way, he fights his growing feelings for Layla. He's never known true love, and even his attempts at sweetness (a darkly humorous night at a bowling alley) turn into a strife-filled bicker-fest. The movie's climax arrives when Billy locates the man he intends to kill. Will he go through with his plan, thus achieving revenge but throwing away his own life in the process? Or will Layla's love prove to be the agent of change in his troubled life? An artful, violent culmination answers these questions in a way that shocked both critics and audiences alike.