Friday, 19 May 2017
Wednesday, 17 May 2017
To say it's whimsical and puerile is self-evident, like Michel Gondry in collaboration with the Farrelly brothers, but what really characterises it is that undying tendency in some U.S. independent cinema to slap together as much incongruous nonsense as possible in the starry-eyed belief that beautiful life lessons will be revealed. As befits the American mentality, it's very much another religion, and when the keen-eyed amongst you spot the brief cameo at the end of Shane Carruth, the director of the even more irritating and ridiculously lauded Upstream Colour, probably one of the most egregious films this reviewer has ever endured, it reaffirms the existence of a cult of weirdness for its own sake masquerading as the virtues of diversity.
Tuesday, 16 May 2017
Two things do distinguish this from most other B-movies in the genre: more attention paid to quiet interludes and mood than usual, as if the director had aspirations to create the depth of The Road rather than just a standard rampage through biting hordes, and an explicit hatred of American Christian fundamentalists, who turn out to be far worse than the undead in their zeal to bring about punishment for mankind. So if there are some original ideas behind it, why adulterate them with such a tired formula? Is there really no other way to get commercial backing for them?
Monday, 15 May 2017
As is so often the case with high-concept sci-fi like this, the initial premise, with its consequences on the reasoning of credulous people, is much more engrossing than what the execution actually turns out to be, which is a sort of Flatliners crossed with Another Earth. It commits the usual sin of thinking that the difficult scientific feasibility part is really just a secondary concern, whereas it's vital: without some rigour applied to that part of the story (there is not even a token attempt to explain the 'scientific undeniability' of Redford's initial findings), it just ends up as woolly as the fond imaginings of the people in it who are taken in by the dream of a continued existence.
Dolan clearly has an inkling of how to spot fractures in family relationships, but the way these are presented is overblown and clumsy, like the observations of a Martian, and disappointingly what you would expect of a director so young who also represents sexual and linguistic minorities and is obviously burdened by that fact. The top-rate cast, including Marion Cotillard and Vincent Cassel are reduced to working with caricatures of personae.
It won the Grand Prix at Cannes, which is one of those frequent cases where the jury wilfully awards something just for being hard work (and therefore not commercial), regardless of whether it actually manages to say anything.
Thursday, 11 May 2017