Jimmy and Judy uses the timeworn convention of a doomed couple on the run from the law, but injects some intriguing guerilla filmmaking to set it apart from its predecessors.
Jimmy is a bit of a nutcase who is obsessed with documenting every moment of his life with his trusty video camera. Judy is a sweet but impressionable girl from his neighborhood who falls in love with him due to his recklessness and devotion to her. Together, they’re bound for trouble but unable to avoid their inevitable fate.
Instead of using traditional camera setups, the filmmakers armed their stars with a single videocamera and put the production in their hands. Everything we see on screen is just as Jimmy and Judy see it, camera shakes included, so if you had motion sickness during The Blair Witch Project, get ready for another bumpy ride here. Although the concept runs the risk of coming off as a pretentious gimmick, it plays out very well here and lends itself to the intimate subject matter.
Edward Furlong plays Jimmy, and the first thing likely to strike viewers is that it’s been a loooong time since Terminator 2. Although he’s a tad doughy and disheveled now, his acting skills are in fine shape and put to good use here. Furlong has had a rough ride through his own legal troubles, so he brings a strong sense of realism to the unbalanced character of Jimmy. He’s the unbridled id of the film, a passionate outsider doing whatever he wants with no regard for social propriety.
While he usually lives at home with his parents, he’s had a history of stints in mental institutions and always seems on the verge of being sent back. His video camera captures his life, but also keeps him at arm’s length from everyone else, acting as both a security blanket and a barrier to any intimacy until he finds a soulmate willing to embrace his odd obsession.
Judy is played by Rachael Bella, a relative unknown with a sizeable list of small film and TV roles. Like Furlong, she’s been in the acting game since childhood, a common past that allowed them to form an easy rapport. Interestingly, Furlong and Bella got married after this production and recently had their first child, so their budding relationship captured here has at least some basis in reality. As Judy, Bella is not given much to do aside from react to Jimmy’s antics, but those reactions are frequently surprising.
For example, when Jimmy dishes out some extreme payback to students who disrespected her, then presents his video recap to her, she gushes about how it’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for her rather than calling him a psycho and immediately distancing herself from him. While she may appear fairly normal on the surface, it’s clear that she has a cracked streak running through her that makes her ripe for their eventual destructive life on the lam.
As their relationship grows, they spend most of their time together until one fateful evening when a tragedy sets off a domino effect of trouble for them. They are forced to run away from home and eventually find sanctuary in a hippie commune headed by a crazed leader played by William Sadler. At this point, the film takes on a definite Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now vibe as they search for the lawless commune, immerse themselves in its counterculture, and ultimately face off against its insane, Kurtz-like chief. Sadler oozes danger in his brief appearance, distancing himself completely from his most famous role as the principled sheriff on TV’s Roswell.
Aside from this short and unexpected sidetrip, the film largely follows the standard formula of a hopeless couple of outlaws on the run seen in everything from Bonnie and Clyde to Wisdom to Natural Born Killers. Each move they make seems to bring them closer to each other and take them further away from redemption, leaving them with nothing but each other at the end.
Written by Caballero Oscuro