The Contemptuous Ruby
A dark and conflicted gritty noir feature, The Contemptuous Ruby takes a tried and true concept of treachery and sexual debauchery and spins it into a well-defined psycho thriller with a classic story line. The stark loneliness of Lake Pontchartrain in Breakwater, Louisiana makes the script feel all that more intimate and personal.
Opening late night in a boathouse, the writers quickly establishes Sheriff Ted as the prophetic seer of the evil that lurks in Breakwater. The main protagonist, Ruby, offers sexual tension and manipulates the lives of those around her. The writers give this story a sardonic and tragic element with a main character being a tattoo of Comedy and Tragedy as a metaphor to the torment of a paralyzed Walter Wilson; who is held captive in a mangled war torn body and bound to his wheelchair. Sheriff Ted, Walter’s friend and fellow Vietnam soldier bears witness to Walter’s mute state and the immobility of his hands while reliving his days of happiness and glory in his mind’s eye . Walter’s torment is visualized by extreme close-ups of his face and eyes while he sits and watches an 8mm film over and over again. His young and beautiful bride, Ruby, from days long past has degenerated into an aging and perverse sadist who tortures him with malicious indifference by performing acts of carnal lust with hapless strangers and with Sheriff Ted as well. Walter is forced to watch. When Ruby hires a young French dancer, Fawn, for Walter’s amusement, it leads to Ruby’s undoing. By the time we’re introduced to Ruby, her evil is developed and her inevitable quest for absolution and annihilation is revealed. The fact that she gets both, serves the audience well. The writers lead you in and out of Ruby’s psychosis, where the temptations of the French Quarter lure her night after night. Its conjures up a diabolical noir setting.
Ruby’s antics become an important insight into the evil of a scorned and toxic woman. Her naked Tango scene with a tall, beautiful and much younger woman, Kat, who is at her beck and call will mesmerize the audience. Walter’s sister, Rhonda, a trust fund hippie dedicates her life to causes. Walter is one of her causes. When the main characters do actually come together the unfolding of Ruby’s contempt for Walter then skyrockets. Ruby’s erotic obsession of luring naive sailors, soldiers, and young women is her real story. One of these, a longshoreman, Lon, appears somewhat happenstance. However, the nature of Lon’s arrogant assumption of immortality make him an easy target for Ruby’s spontaneous combustion of love and lust.
The writers are able to bring in some tension breaking humor with Ruby’s disrobing, her expertise at blowing condoms over empty Vodka bottles and her pole dancing skills. Lon’s dialogue with Ruby clearly depicts him an innocent. While Ruby’s torment of Walter seems highly improbable, it works in the context of the story. Additionally, the Tango between Ruby and Kat is steamy enough to entertain. Ruby’s tough edges are never smoothed out except in wedding photos and home movies of her and Walter making her a more endearing character. Sheriff Ted narrates this tale throughout with classic voice over. Overall, The Contemptuous Ruby is gripping as well as entertaining. A highly flamboyant lust tryst that focuses intently on the internal agony of Walter. The writers confirm the desolation and stark loneliness of Breakwater, Louisiana in 1971.