9 out of 10


Psychopaths for Dummies

They say that "the eyes are the windows to the soul" which I guess is why when you gaze into the eyes of a true psychopath, it sends a deep shiver down your spine, as you realise that you are staring into a bleak, black bottomless crevasse into which light just falls. Psychopaths exist, because so few can conceive of their true darknesss. You have to live or work with one, maybe even be born to one and grow up in their shadow to appreciate them deeply, yet those who have done so never usually survive, at least with their sanity and credibility intact, to warn the rest of mankind. As such, "Abandon" is one of the truly greatest works ever of Hollywood, accurately portraying every aspect of their twisted existence.

They are not normal people, but AMORAL - they genuinely have no concept of right or wrong, no code of principles, no concience. Without this, they are immune from normal logic. Without being driven by compassion or basic desire to strive for a better world or future for their own family or friends, the desire to be the centre of attention is the only root motivation, but an overwhelming one at that, as they view themselves as the star of a play called "life" where only the audience matter and those around them such as their family and work colleagues as to be used and are as expendible as Star Trek ensigns. To these ends they move through the lives of others meddling and sabotaging their hopes and dreams in order to look good and get some attention. And in this lies the true horror, for they are never knife-welding nutters going "postal", but apparantly ordinary people like you and me - "nice people" who incidiously ruin everything, and, to paraphrase an old English joke, make sure that the light at the end of the tunnel has to be turned off for reasons of economy. Uniquely, they are able to protect themselves from the true nastiness of their own personality, by living in a whole of lies and make believe, able to convince themselves that 2 + 2 = 5, rather than admit any fault at all in themselves. The manipulation, the lies, the ruthlessness - "Abandon" covers it all in graphic detail!

Benjamin Bratt plays a cop who becomes increasingly involved in the life of a young student, played by Katie Holmes, who comes to him for protection against her ex-boyfriend. No matter what he does, the cop seems unable to defend her against this treat as the days count down to her final University exams upon which her whole career depends. Just watch and wonder!

Psychopaths for Dummies - A reference manual for the rest of us!

Film Critic: Robert L Thompsett