I Was On Mars Review

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Silva (Schrader) comes from Poland and ends up in Manhattan watching her money disappear rapidly in cab fares and hotel bills. When a hustler with sharp sideburns (Levy) rips off her last cash, she is driven to sleep on the streets and forage for food scraps, but sets out to track Levy down and get her money back.

Accidentally throwing pepper in the eyes of Levy's cousin (Giacalone), who has borrowed one of his suits, Silva finds herself squatting in their apartment, still waiting for her money, a bedraggled presence whose misery stirs the men to make vague gestures towards helping her out and smartening her up. A familiar fish-out-of-water tale in the shadow of Jim Jarmusch's Stranger In Paradise period, this odd film has rather too many slow bits for its slight storyline, though Schrader does manage to make the almost infuriatingly blank Silva interesting.

With a couple of leading men whose idea of a good time is an evening of pizza and beer in front of a video of Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer, and a collection of passing downbeats and scuzzballs in the background, it hardly paints an attractive picture of America, but eventually a species of bleak charm does emerge. And it redeems itself with a wonderfully ironic finish which makes sense of the title and the heroine's character and, without being unduly gimmicky, pays off with an unexpected parting shot.