Mall

Studio: Paragon Pictures
Directed by Joseph Hahn

Nov 10, 2014 Web Exclusive
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Every day it seems, Americans turn on their television sets and hear news anchors report on another public shooting. Schools, churches, office buildings—nowhere is safe anymore. In Mall, Linkin Park member Joe Hahn’s feature directorial debut, the random violence finds its way into a shopping mall (also, sadly, something that has actually happened in the U.S.). Amid the chaos, a group of angsty, disenchanted, vitriolic teenagers roam the carnage, wreaking their own havoc, tormenting other victims, and tripping on psychotropics. (How they are able to traipse so freely through an active crime scene is anyone’s guess.)

The biggest problem with Hahns film is that it is incredibly hard to tell whether the movie glorifies the violence perpetrated upon innocent people, or if it condemns it. Jeff (Cameron Monaghan), the leading, observant teenager, is so angry at humanity from the moment he sets foot into the mall—he’s not the shooter—he almost wishes the massacre upon its victims. From the get-go, the tone is one of disgust at what people have become: domesticated, placated consumers. The only way to truly live in the modern age is to become a “wolf,” something Jeff’s drugs help him do. What does it mean to be a wolf? Within the ensemble piece, and depending upon the mall customer, it could be anything from an adulterous wife, a pervert, or a mass killer. If only there was someone to root for, someone who wasn’t corrupt or soulless before the violence erupts, then there might be an anchor to steady the film. As it is, though, Mall is an angry letter to consumerist America with little redemptive value.

Hahn’s Linkin Park band mates, Chester Bennington, Dave Farrell, and Mike Shinoda, assisted the director in composing the film’s score. Vincent D'Onofrio, who plays a lusting peeping Tom, also produced and contributed to the script.

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