October 2nd, 2009

lotr space station

Cat and Cat-5

Calgary International Film Festival day 7:
  • Sois sage (Be Good) *
    A question for you: if a movie accomplishes exactly that which it intends, and in spades, can it reasonable to consider it a bad movie?

    Let me be clear. I hated this movie. Hated, hated, hated. I left the theatre feeling nauseous, reeling from anger and frustration. I had walked half-way home before my mind cleared enough to remember to go back and get my bike. Even writing this a day later, I can feel the anger returning, my muscles tensing up.

    But here's the thing: I'm not sure that wasn't the point. The filmmaker seems to have set out to create a character as unsympathetic as possible, and in that, there is no question that she has succeeded. So where does that leave me with regard to the movie as a whole? The festival flew her in from France for a Q&A session following the screening, but instead of attending, I was already outside, shaking and feeling wretched. As soon as the first credits appeared on-screen, I was out of my chair and running for the door, having had to suppress the urge to walk out of the movie a few times already. Too bad – I would have liked to hear what she had to say – but there's no way I could have physically remained in that theatre.

    So again: where does that leave me? This is unquestionably the most intense reaction I've ever had to a movie, but when it's so negative, I'm hard-pressed to say anything good about said movie.

    Through all the anger and hate, I think really what I feel at the core (it is admittedly hard to pin down) is frustration. We are all familiar with Hitchcock's observation regarding the action of an exploding bomb versus the suspense of an unexploded bomb. This movie was 90 minutes of unexploded bomb. And then the movie ended. That was it. But the bomb was still under the fucking table, and still hadn't exploded. To say I was feeling blue-balled would be putting it mildly. Arrrgh!

    It didn't help that at the end, none of the characters were acting in a rational manner. Thoughout the entire movie, but especially at the end, I just wanted to leap into the screen, grab the characters by the throat, shake, and scream: "Why are you just standing there, doing nothing? Why don't you react to this like a real person would?"

    Was there a point to their inaction? Arguably, perhaps. But I couldn't bridge the gap; I was far too frustrated.

    Well, whatever. I can only say at this point that if I ever hear of another movie from this filmmaker, I will be giving it a wide berth. So I suppose one star is where this remains. But I'll concede there's an argument to be made for giving it a 9 or a 10.
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