Utilizing vintage footage from WWI and the Russian Revolution, Jeff Kahn's REVOLUTION! chronicles the lives and deeds of a quartet of aimless young rebels on New York City's Lower East Side.
The key trio are seen in a sparsely furnished tenement where Ollie (Christopher Renstrom) sits in the bathtub reading volume 1 of Das Kapital, Suzy (Kimberly Flynn) preens in front of the mirror and Billy (George Osterman) laments his unemployment as a transvestite entertainer. On one of their
walks around the neighborhood, Ollie and Suzy are given a gun as a contribution to their-talked about plans for revolution. Part of their inspiration would seem to be a burlesqued Marxism class where students literally parrot the correct slogans and catchphrases. Fellow classmate Steve (Johnny
Kabalah) completes the quartet when Suzy and Ollie announce to him that they are Marxists.
The younger Steve provides a crucial element in their proclaimed need to make "pamphlets and bombs," the essential ingredients of revolt; he knows where there's some ready cash. To get to Long Island, the four rebels steal a car and venture forth into color whereas the previous scenes were all in
black-and- white. And at the end of this vehicular highway is indeed a closet full of cash, but so is Aunt Kasha (Helen Schumaker), so the Marxists retreat back to Manhattan where they attend a local club and participate in a punk version of an Andy Hardy-style dance sequence with Suzy in the
Isolated and in despair, Billy kills himself, so another trip is made to Long Island to dispose of his body and to take another stab at Aunt Kasha's money. Instead, Ollie and Suzy discover Steve living amidst the luxury, and promptly join him. (There is even an amusing contrast of the Kronstadt
sailor eyeing the decor of the Winter Palace malevolently in OCTOBER and Ollie's far less fierce reaction.) The trio's silly hypocrisy, whether cavorting around the pool, playing at playing tennis or raiding the kitchen and wine cellar ends when Aunt Kasha returns home with a companion, no less
than the professor from their Marxism class. The exchange of insults between Suzy and Kasha escalates into fisticuffs, murder and a classic pistol duel.
Although marked by occasional flashes of zany humor and the clever use of both vintage footage and heroic Russian choral music, director-writer Jeff Kahn's film cannot escape the limited acting ability of his cast. Renstrom is a playwright whose looks do not make up for his inability to deliver
his lines with any emotion save petulant boredom. The fetching Kimberly Flynn attracts most of the camera's time, and her spirited performance includes a Marlene Dietrich-inspired song before an audience culled from a vintage opera film. Kahn has worked with Flynn in a number of performance
pieces, and the influence of this background is apparent. Kabalah is a nonprofessional actor who shows some talent under the circumstances, while other players are drawn from the theater and club scenes. (Profanity.)
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- Released: 1991
- Rating: NR
- Review: Utilizing vintage footage from WWI and the Russian Revolution, Jeff Kahn's REVOLUTION! chronicles the lives and deeds of a quartet of aimless young rebels on New York City's Lower East Side. The key trio are seen in a sparsely furnished tenement where Ol… (more)