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Blu-ray Review: Stephen Dorff Shines In The Cult Classic ‘S.F.W.’ (1994)


Long before reality television dominated the television airwaves and Stephen Dorff was encouraging us all to take our freedom back, those worlds collided in ‘S.F.W.,’ Jefery Levy’s cult classic film. The script for the film is adapted from the award winning novel by author Andrew Wellman. The film boasts an all-star cast featuring Dorff, (Future Academy Award winner) Reese Witherspoon, Jack Noseworthy, Joey Lauren Adams, Pamela Gidley and Tobey McGuire.

The film focuses in on an ultra-angsty young man named Cliff Spab (Stephen Dorff) whose world is turned upside down one evening when him and a friend make an innocent trip to convenience store for beer. The pair are taken hostage, along with three others, by a terrorist group known as S.P.L.T. Image. During a 36 day standoff with police, the hostages every move and word are videotaped. The mysterious group has only one demand; that the footage their broadcasts be televised on worldwide TV, live and uncut. Failure to comply leads to the death of two hostages and leaves Cliff, his friend Joe (Jack Noseworthy) and an attractive teenage girl named Wendy Pfister (Reese Witherspoon) as the surviving captives. As life in captivity wears thin, Spab is driven closer to the edge and coins the phrase “So Fucking What?” in response to his captors death threats.

'S.F.W.' is now on Blur-ray via Olive Films.
‘S.F.W.’ is now on Blur-ray via Olive Films.

The film springs forward, revealing a daring escape attempt by the hostages has ended the siege but leaves Spab wounded, after taking a bullet for Wendy, and his best friend dead. The coverage of the event, coupled with his bravery and rebellious attitude, make this young man with seemingly nothing to lose an instant cultural icon. Back in the real world, Spab soon finds he is a media darling. Struggling to deal with the aftermath of his life-alterting ordeal, Spab finds himself struggling to adjust to life in the spotlight. As his journey continues, he soon realizes he is still imprisoned, not by terrorists but due to overnight fame and unexpected notoriety.

Cliff soon seeks out Wendy and a romantic relationship begins to blossom. However, their relationship is hindered by a siege of paparazzi who continue to pursue their story. Cliff confides in Wendy that he wants to escape it all, only to find himself being pushed farther away when he needs her most. The duo makes a press appearance at a local high school only to find their world’s turned upside down once more with a much different result. ‘S.F.W.’ is a film certainly ahead of it’s time. It’s young cast all deliver solid performances, especially Stephen Dorff. He delivers the material with a authenticity and charisma. ‘S.W.F.’ serves as one of the actor’s most under-appreciated and often overlooked performances.

The film features a score from Graeme Revell, who rose to prominence in the 1990s with work ranging from ‘The Crow’ to Street Fighter’ to ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ to ‘The Craft,’ along with many others. The films’ soundtrack and overall vibe is fueled by selections from Soundgarden, Hole, Marilyn Manson, Suicidal Tendencies, Monster Magnet, and Babes in Toyland, and serves as a delightful 90s nostalgia time capsule in it’s own way.

OUR VERDICT: ’S.F.W.’ was released by Olive Films on September 22, 2015 is GRADE A!

Haven’t yet experienced the magic of Stephen Dorff as Cliff Spab? “So fucking what?” Now is the time! You can purchase S.F.W. directly from Olive Films at this location – Click Here. Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter for info on all of their epic releases!

Runtime: 96 minutes
Year Filmed: 1994
Rated: R