- Rated: R
- Run Time: 1 hours, 30 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: January 28, 2003
- Originally Released: 1993
- Label: Vanguard Cinema
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Single Side - Dual Layer
- Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen - 1.85
- Aspect Ratio: Letterbox - 1.85
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Memorable Quotes and Dialog:
"The strange thing that we want to remember is that while we are catching them, we don't want to kill it in the sense that we are destroying an insect like a hornet or a wasp. What we want to do is, shall we say, stop it from living."
- Nat Weatherbee, on television
"What's wrong with Brewster'"
- Whiley Pritcher (Ron Marquette) to caller
"Who is wrong with Brewter'"
- Pritcher to caller
"The really wrong things in life, Mary, are right in front of us. We see them all the time. We just don't know that they're wrong. Or we may not think that they're wrong. Or we may not want to admit that they're wrong."
- Pritcher to caller
"Yeah, opinions are like assholes. Everyone's got one and some of them stink."
- Caller to Pritcher
"You can't hang up on reality, Roy."
- Pritcher to caller
"If you can't trust Whiley, who can you trust'"
- Mayor Tom Breyer (Charles Kavanaugh) to lawyer
"And listen to your mom. Don't talk to strangers."
- Pritcher to Tray (Jason Valance)
Variety - 02/08/1993
"...[The film] is serious minded and bounces around some provocative ideas..."
Brewster is an idyllic little town with clean streets, green parks, a booming economy, and a friendly, content populace. Or so it seems...until one day, a mysterious stranger arrives. A seemingly congenial, clean-cut, and upstanding citizen himself, Whiley Pritcher (Ron Marquette) buys airtime at the local public access station, and puts on a show called "Our Town," during the Sunday family hour. Whiley poses one question to his call-in audience, "What's wrong with Brewster'"--a question that soon unearths the corrupt, insidious world that lies beneath the town's placid veneer.
The first feature film from Bryan Singer and Christopher McQuarrie, (the collaborators behind THE USUAL SUSPECTS), PUBLIC ACCESS is an ambitious, disturbing look at small town life. Like David Lynch's BLUE VELVET, Singer here attempts to reveal the dark, sinister side of an Anytown, USA. Working with a tight budget, a script he co-wrote in ten days and a cast of relative unknowns, Singer manages to construct an intriguing debut that introduces him as a major new talent.
Description by Vanguard International Cinema:
An enigmatic stranger comes to the small congenial town of Brewster, an almost too perfect example of idyllic America, and rents a room in the home of the ex-mayor. He begins a public access TV show called ""Our Town"" that airs every Sunday night. Appearing in a tidy suit on a bare set, he faces the camera and simply asks, "What's wrong with Brewster'" Week by week the calls start pouring in and the commentary gravitates from the general to the very specific. We soon realize that the mysterious TV host is up to so much more than we could have ever imagined. By his subtle manipulations, the tranquil town gradually disintegrates and it may be too late to restore Brewster to its placid veneer. DVD Extras!
winner! sundance film fest!
A seemingly idyllic town has its placid veneer stripped away when a stranger arrives and, through a public access cable show, begins asking, "What's wrong with Brewster'" A psychological thriller from the director of "The Usual Suspects," this film won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival.
In this thriller from the director of "The Usual Suspects," a stranger's arrival in a small, seemingly idyllic town upsets the community's peaceful existence.
The mysterious newcomer, Whiley Pritcher, uses a local public access program called "Our Town" as a forum to question Brewster's inhabitants about their true feelings. Soon Pritcher has uncovered secrets that put the residents at odds with one another... and sets the town on the road to ruin.
Theatrical Release |
- Theatrical release: 1996.
- Although it made the festival circuit in 1993, the film was not given a wide release until after the success of THE USUAL SUSPECTS.
- PUBLIC ACCESS won the 1993 Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival (co-winner, with RUBY IN PARADISE).
- The film is the first collaboration between Bryan Singer and Christopher McQuarrie, who are old friends from Princeton Junction, New Jersey.
- It was after he saw PUBLIC ACCESS that Kevin Spacey wanted to work with Singer and McQuarrie.
- The headlines on the front page of the newspaper Whiley Pritcher reads at the start of the film include "Crime and Unemployment Reach Record Low," "Will Breyer Run for Senate'," "Abernathy Fights Dismissal," and "Telephone Service Held Safe Against Disaster."
- Brandon Boyce, who plays Kevin in the film, wrote the screenplay for Singer's later film APT PUPIL.
- Christopher McQuarrie plays the first cop, and provided the voice for one of the callers on the show.
- The call-in number for "Our Town" is 555-4855.