Monday, 23 February 2015
It's very rare for me to walk out of a film, literally or metaphorically in the case of a DVD by simply ejecting it; by the time one of the smirking, insolent home invaders has turned to the camera and mugged a grin, I was overcome with the nasty-taste-in-the-mouth feeling I was being manipulated, and only in the service of Haneke's need to hector his audience about how dreadful their influence on movies is. A powerful "What Have I Done?" moment (such as the famous long shot at the end of Taxi Driver) takes an entire film to be in the service of, and crucially requires the audience to follow Travis because they care about him, not because they are tied up with telephone wire and lashed to him. The two anti-heroes in this film are ciphers, punchable at that, and no more watchable or dramatically compelling than animated juvenile crime statistics.
Posted by Jonathan at 15:28
Thursday, 12 December 2013
James Dunn and Chris Weaver had the same patience from sound to sound, and percussive sound palette, but didn't seem to want to hear anything they did more than once; there could have been some brilliantly off-kilter techno in there if only they could have stomached some repetition.
Posted by Jonathan at 14:10
Saturday, 7 December 2013
Serious issue; ghastly, vacant film.
Posted by Jonathan at 14:59
Sunday, 29 September 2013
Posted by Jonathan at 12:29
The investigating police officer (the always charismatic Han Suk-Kyu) is even at the outset an unreliable, emotionally compromised and damaged figure, who is run over, beaten up, doused in rain and sour blood, and takes the form of a hopelessly impotent yet charmed and charming male agent of authority. His superiors are a distant and incompetent set of striding suits and stern stares.
The force of the film is a blankly terrifying, vengeful female figure, Soo-Yeon, who enlists another woman in the killing of the anonymous suitors, and then disposes of her in front of the police. when she tries to take the blame for the killings, in a pseudo-denoument to the tune of Nick Cave's "Red Right Hand" playing in a Seoul branch of Tower Records.
By the close, several dead men have had their bodies cut up, dumped in black plastic binliners in public and inadvertently discovered (one memorably in the middle of a 2 lane highway causes an ugly pile-up), the detective is collapsed outside the murderers' house, while she is on a plane to Paris.
*The most human relationship in the film, that between detectives Cho and his avuncular sidekick Detective Oh, ends gruesomely as Cho hears Oh die on the phone at the second woman's hands; the second (and obviously tomboyishly- styled) woman is then shot by Soo Yeon at Tower Records (with the gun symbolically and superfluously given her by Cho).
The theme of the bleakly comic botching of a police operation is far closer to the centre of "Memories of Murder", which is powered but burdered by being based on the true story of a notorious and unsolved sequence of serial murders. The figures of the police officers (particuarly the brilliantly intransigent, lazy but conscience-stricken Song Kang-Ho) are far too embroiled in internecine bickering, territorial disputes and work-avoidance to get close enough to the dead women to have their identity jolted.
Posted by Jonathan at 03:33
Tuesday, 27 August 2013
Ellen Gallagher generates a near-effortless Paradisian dimension by creating the creatures who might populate it in a ghostly, whited-out form (her Watery Ecstatic fish and deep sea creatures emerge only barely from the paper), and by hinting at it through goggle-eyed start-charts and forbiddingly seamless black rubber canvases. The Kabuki videos, which use a rhythmically unfolding Chinoiserie of aquatic characters across a cartoon seabed, manage with a loop of half-remembered gamelan music what legions of post-production digital artists failed in Elysium: to elicit the other-worldly, the clouded paradise.
Posted by Jonathan at 15:36