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The Curve (1998)

Written and Directed by Dan Rosen

  What extremes would you go to in order to receive a perfect GPA? I’m sure most college students already sacrifice sleep, going out and an overall sanity. But would you or rather could you ever sacrifice your best friend and roommate? Pretty loaded question. It’s actually rare I hear others who have seen or heard of this film and even less who know of a comedic counterpart that came out just a week or two after entitled Dead Man on Campus. Which was actually quite humorous given the melodrama material it’s linked to. Even looking it up was a slight pain as its entitled Dead Man’s Curve in most places but the DVD clearly reads The Curve so who knows what happened in post production with that.

  Chris (Michael Vartan) rushes to check his grade and overcome with relief when finding a B+. Finding Tim, (Matthew Lillard) he explains of not having to go through with their prior plan. Which integrates into a comedian speaking over the track explaining a rumor going around campus: if your roommate commits suicide you’d be given an automatic 4.0. Making a joke on the matter as though it could be something you actually got away with. Chris, later speaking withe the school therapist, (Dana Delany) inquires as to what symptoms one should look for in their roommate being suicidal. Of which she than goes through a pretty humorous list of attributes, the last of which being viewing anything by a first-time writer, director. (Of which Dan Rosen is)

  We find the rest of Tim and Chris’s friends playing a trivial game in the courtyard. Of which Rand (Randall Batinkoff) doesn’t seem to be taking defeat so well when his beau Natalie (Tamara Craig Thomas) doesn’t to seem to be any good. Berating her in front of their peers as she makes it clear she wasn’t feeling well and leaves quite embarrassed. Later discovering the reason behind her illness; she was pregnant. We briefly see Rand collecting his thoughts near the curve (where everyone hangs out) as the schools rent-a-cop stops by and hands out orders. Which was actually good for a laugh as he assumes he held any real power over the students.

  Later on at a party Chris and Emma catch up with Jimmi (Ben Livingston) as Tim makes his way into the same corner. Eventually leading to a drinking game in that involves opening flat beers on their faces and slapping each other of which Chris is less than thrilled about. Natalie interrupting as a means to pull Tim aside and speak with him turns into being criticized in front of everyone. Giving no choice but to shout her current news and letting everyone else aware. Chalking it up to being nothing more than a small hometown harlot, Rand retreats to the curve where he’s soon joined by his buddies to discuss the notion of trying to get Natalie deported to avoid the entire debacle. (She’s from Canada eh)

  Lillard was a nice choice to see once again in a corrupt and twisted role. In Scream we had to come to the conclusion on our own that he was involved (as easy as it may have been for some). But we know from the get of what his intentions are and get to see him become more malicious as the film proceeds which is a rarity with him. He takes care of Rand who had passed out from drinking an entire bottle with a surprise ingredient, rat poison. He disposes of the body by throwing it over the cliff and the next the two are visited by Natalie. Stating she would be leaving to return home with not wanting to be treated as such any longer. News spreading quickly on Rand’s death as Tim puts on an excellent show for the administrators who did offer the 4.0. Tim and Emma later acting as nonchalant about the situation as they spoke of anecdote after another; making matters worse if anything for Natalie.

  Tragedy strikes the campus twice as Natalie takes the same leap, unable to handle the recent death of her combative lover. Speaking with Detective Shipper (Anthony Griffith) it seems Tim’s motives have begun a shift in mood as he hands the detective repeated information pinning Chris to being the one with Rand. Planting a seed with Emma whose unaware of the schools therapist being close by and overhears the suggestive manner. While the Police find Natalie’s body with Rand’s still unfounded, a plan arises in which Tim insist on Chris going through with. A recent fight with his girlfriend Emma that surly would be fixed by arranging a romantic assortment while hiding out in her closet to wait for her. The two retreating back to the room where Tim sets his eyes directly onto Chris whose left to witness the events taking place. More like choose, he could have stopped it. 

  Returning to the dorm Chris finds Tim sitting in the dark with a gun stating that they needed to talk. Displaying the predisposed inner workings of his certifiable demeanor at an attempt of having it seem to not be his fault. While yes, perhaps not being able to control the things that occur in one’s own life, you can at least control the effect it has on you. In the end everyone sleeps alone so making yourself a victim of what once certainly is not going to help anybody. (My own two cents on the matter) Coming off his discussion from Tim with an apparent ego boost, Chris is bombarded by questions of where Rand’s body could be. A autopsy revealing that Natalie had also not been pregnant but continues on to class. Meeting up with Emma later at the curve where we discover one twist after another.

Final Thoughts: The movie itself is still worth a watch though well over a decade old. Better to leave the last 10 minutes or so for those who do choose to check out. Your pretty sure of how its going to end and then they revert it back so your response is “ohhhh, I see..” I did have a problem pertaining to Emma’s character however. By me stating earlier that Natalie had not been pregnant; can you guess you was? Well she got away with participating and received a most minuscule warning; too unrealistic for me. It always ends with a sly grin to a rather upset therapist, certainly peeved at this point to have been thrown off and overwhelmed by a group of students. Especially ones whose malicious intent of attending Harvard Law had seemed to pay off with no blame in sight for anyone involved. Does it keep you guessing: sure. Worth a watch: why not? Being considered a romantic mystery: wouldn’t go that far. But yet another “teen” type thriller with a fair amount of amusement to be had.