"Brilliant." - Roger Ebert, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
"This is no less than a masterpiece. Remember the first time you saw 'Blood Simple' or 'Blue Velvet' and were blown away? Same thing. ...stunningly rendered. Everything from the cinematography to the music to the acting is nothing less than perfect. It's literally one of the best films I've seen ever."
- FILM THREAT
FIRECRACKER is a bold and shocking true-to-life tale of murder in small town Kansas. Set against the stark beauty of Middle America, this astonishing story of abuse, suffering and denial reveals dreams of escape. The inevitable confrontation unleashes the truth concealed behind the pleasant façade of small-town U.S.A.
Meek, reclusive and talented Jimmy is emotionally imprisoned by his abusive, alcoholic older brother David (Mike Patton) – and fanatically religious mother Eleanor (Karen Black). With evil lurking in the shadows, the setting sun gives way to the blue of evening and Jimmy finds escape in the neon glow of a traveling sideshow carnival. Unlike its drab, depressing daytime reality, the carnival becomes a nightly glittering solitaire on the prairie, beckoning all around to its illusions and make-believe. With a guise of red satin and the lure of a heavenly voice, Sandra (also Karen Black), billed as an “oddity of nature,” is the carnival’s premier attraction. Yearning for a way out, Jimmy befriends Sandra, unaware that her imprisonment and degradation, at the hands of Frank (also Mike Patton), the carnival owner, mirror his own. Sandra, taken by his innocence, finds her own inner strength and suppressed dreams. When David disappears, the metaphorical white-picket fences collapse, leaving raw emotions exposed to the spark of truth.
Throughout it all Police Chief Ed (Susan Traylor) searches for truth, uncovering bits of evidence suggesting deceit, abuse, murder and cover-up. As her investigation leads her closer to the truth, the lives of those involved become lit fuses – until they explode, one-by-one, in a dramatic and harrowing conclusion.
FIRECRACKER pulls no punches nor hides from the ugliness that mars reality. It also reveals in its imagery a vividness and majesty that transcends mere mortality, exploding the myth of Middle America’s sanctity and piety, while opening the door to atonement.
WINNER: Special Jury Award Roger Ebert's Best Films of the Year
WINNER: Best Actress Karen Black (Fantasporto Film Festival)
WINNER: Best Actress Karen Black (Independent Vision Awards, Visionfest)
WINNER: Best Cinematography (Independent Vision Awards, Visionfest)
WINNER: Domani Vision Award for Steve Balderson (Independent Vision Awards, Visionfest)
NOMINEE: Best Picture (Fantasporto Film Festival)
NOMINEE: Best Picture (Raindance Film Festival)
“Sensational... Karen Black gives two of the finest performances of her career in Firecracker.”
- THE STAR TRIBUNE
“Firecracker is a mind-blower. A technical marvel.”
- ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
"Visually Arresting... The film is the mutant love child of Tod Browning's Freaks and David Lynch's Blue Velvet."
- THE BOSTON GLOBE
"Forget the David Lynch comparisons."
- SEATTLE WEEKLY
"One of the most visually stunning, emotionally heavy films of this decade..."
- ICON MAGAZINE
"Firecracker is a psychotic masterpiece... This is the film David Lynch wishes he was still capable of making..."
- RAINDANCE MAGAZINE
"Scenes and sequences that are nothing short of becoming classic film moments… This is a film that is unlike anything seen in recent memory."
- AFTERTASTE MAGAZINE
"Visuals are so extremely vibrant that they will remain in your head for weeks and months to come... 'Firecracker' is without a doubt, the new standard in filmmaking, feeling, and human emotion."
"A visually stunning film that is equal parts Truman Capote and Todd Browning."
- Pierre-Alexandre Despatis, IONCINEMA
Karen Black "steals the show with two performances of such magnitude that she should at least receive a nomination for Best (Actress) at the next Academy Awards. They could feasibly nominate her for Best Supporting Actress as well... Visually it's also breathtaking."
- Jeremy Allen, PLAYLOUDER
"one of the most visually arresting films I've seen."
- DETROIT FREE PRESS
“Truly bizarre… Magnificent!”
- AUSTIN CHRONICLE