A Better Place is a 1997 American independent film, written and directed by Vincent Pereira. It stars Robert DiPatri and Eion Bailey. It was produced in association with View Askew, Kevin Smith's production company, and released to DVD by Synapse Films. It was nominated for the Golden Starfish Award for Best American Independent Film at the 1997 Hamptons International Film Festival.
In the film, Barret Michaelson (Robert DiPatri) is an unwelcome newcomer in a public high school. He is often smacked around and mistreated by his new classmates. Barret has no friends until another misfit with a bad reputation, Ryan (Eion Bailey), saves him from a beating in the men's locker room. Ryan is a misanthropic existentialist with violent tendencies and a dark past. It is revealed that Ryan's father murdered his mother and then committed suicide in front of Ryan when he was only ten years old.
The two become fast friends who spend much of their time together engaged in philosophical conversation, but their friendship comes to an abrupt halt when the two are involved in an incident with a local landowner who claims they are trespassing on his land. Ryan throws a rock at the man, causing him to fall and break his neck on a rock. The two manage to successfully make it look like an accident, but the incident forces Barret to pull away from his friendship with Ryan. This causes Ryan to become very emotional, and to purchase a black market gun. Barret soon agrees that they should put the incident behind them and continue to be friends, but Ryan becomes increasingly morose and attached to Barret.
When Ryan suffers a brutal beating at the hands of the bully against whom Ryan had originally defended Barret, he is consumed by a will for revenge, and makes it clear to Barret that he intends to shoot the bully to death. Barret tries as hard as he can to dissuade Ryan, but Ryan says it's his "destiny" and insists that there is nothing Barret can do to stop him. As the moment of truth approaches, Ryan forces Barret at gun point to accompany him to the would-be crime scene. Ryan finds his enemy in a secluded area, smoking what is probably a joint (marijuana cigarette). Barret tries to warn him, but it is to no avail, and Ryan kills him. After the killing, Barret tries to incapacitate Ryan by hitting on the head with a rock, but it doesn't work. In a struggle, the gun goes off, claiming Ryan's life. Barret then shoots him once again, and tries to turn the gun on himself, but by that time the gun is out of bullets.
Themes throughout the movie may include misanthropy, introversion, teen violence, suicide, fatalism, and existentialism.