The violence and intensity in many films about inner-city gangs or even the Mafia do not hold a candle to Srdjan Dragojevics' The Wounds, which portrays two of the most horrifically memorable underage criminals ever captured on celluloid. Amidst the devastating backdrop of the war in Bosnia, Pinkie and Trout quickly learn that unethical behavior reaps more tangible benefits than obedience or patriotism. In a country devastated by political and moral upheaval, chaos seems to be in charge. Within this framework, the boys begin their violent path to power and fame. What begins as small-time drug running for the local dealer and doing lines with Grandma quickly escalates to cold-blooded assassination. Despite their horrible deeds, the boys are not presented as one-dimensional killers; they become a frightening dichotomy of childish innocence and unbridled evil, laughing at both silly pranks and reprehensible crimes. An early infatuation with a local talk show host divides the boys as their infamy lands them a spot on her show, where they put on a graphic display of how far they are willing to take their perverse antics. The wounds in the title become both literal and figurative as Pinkie and Trout turn on each other while their country turns on itself. Paralleling the moral and physical destruction of individuals and a country, Dragojevic creates an extremely dark, yet disturbingly hilarious, portrait of an all-too-real world and its humanity, or lack thereof.
Rap sheets and rap music just about wrap up the rapid fire "Exit Wounds," which unites the old economy's Steven Seagal with the MTV generation's DMX in the eternal quest for box-office gold. The ingredients of this bullet-punctuated, car-demolishing, flame-filled good-cop, corrupt-cop tale are about as novel as a lollipop. But for those in search of action-filled escapist entertainment who are willing to jettison expectations of credibility into the nearest popcorn tub, "Exit Wounds," directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak ("Romeo Must Die") with a sense of pace and style, will do to pass time on an inclement day. — Lawrence Van Gelder
2001-03-17 | Lawrence Van Gelder | Read the New York Times Review of Exit Wounds