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The Boston Globe

Movies

Movie Review

Unnerving ‘Rubberneck’ deserves a look

Alex Karpovsky is better known these days for his role as Ray, the surly barista on HBO’s “Girls,” but he had a decent little career going for him as a director before the show — “The Hole Story” (2005), “Woodpecker” (2008) — and, if “Rubberneck” is any evidence, he’ll have one after. The movie, which Karpovsky co-wrote (with Boston-area filmmaker Garth Donovan), directed, and stars in, is a creepy number, half suspense drama and half brooding character study, with a strong dash of local flavor and a low-budget feel. It hints at what Karpovsky’s strengths are as a filmmaker and where he might go from here.

Set in a Cambridge medical lab, “Rubberneck” follows Paul (Karpovsky), a shy, awkwardly serious technician who gets unexpectedly lucky with co-worker Danielle (Jaime Ray Newman, of ABC’s upcoming “Red Widow”) after an office Christmas party. She’s pretty but shallow, and as far as she’s concerned, theirs was a one-night stand. Eight months later, Paul’s still obsessed. Why? Glimpses of a past trauma, in flashbacks and in his relationship with a worried single-mom sister (Amanda Good Hennessey), tease us with an answer that’s not very convincing when it arrives.

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