Archive for April, 2009

24
Apr
09

‘Sam Gang Yi’ (‘Three…Extremes’)

2004
Director: Fruit Chan, Takashi Miike, Chan-Wook Park
Starring: Ling Bai, Byung-Hun Lee, Kyoko Hasegawa

Definitely Worth Watching

‘Three…Extremes’ is a collaboration horror from three highly acclaimed directors of different countries; Fruit Chan (Hong Kong), Takashi Miike (Japan) and Chan-Wook Park (South Korea). The idea behind this is a sequel to the 2002 film called ‘Three’ (Also a collaboration, with different directors); however, the directors of that were not as established at the time. This collaboration consists of three 40 minute segments entitled ‘Dumplings’, ‘Cut’, and ‘Box’; each have their own stories and their own themes, taking you on a pretty disturbing ride.

The first segment is ‘Dumplings’, directed by Fruit Chan. Later released as a feature length production, this tells a story evocative of ‘The Fountain of Youth’ in which a woman, ‘Mrs. Li’, seeks to restrain her aging process; she meets ‘Aunt Mei’ (Ling Bai) who claims to make dumplings which will grant her wish, and also implies she is living proof. However, the dumplings are not all they seem to be.
So, we have a rather familiar tale with a slight twist on it, what’s the big deal?
Well, it’s part of a collection of horror segments, so you’re instantly expecting something a little more than the ordinary ‘drink this cup of water, and tada, you’re 18 again’.
The initial audio is quite cliché, a typically ‘horror’ sounding composition played over the opening shots of the film, which can instantly throw off a viewer into an early sense of dismissal. Though, if you have patience and an open mind, it can become a fairly enthralling piece.
Trepidation does come into it at certain points, but isn’t really that consistent. There are also a couple small sub-plots within this short film that aren’t really developed upon in such a way that makes you care about them, there are also some minor points to these side stories that don’t altogether make complete sense; the storytelling of this segment isn’t particularly well done. The film doesn’t seem to flow that greatly, and this leads to suspicions that these 40 minutes may have just been edited out of the longer piece, meaning the full feature might have more depth and clarity.
This is the first time I’ve personally seen ‘Bai Ling’ with anything more than a bit part, and she gives an incredible performance in her profoundly sinister role. A fair bit of her dialogue in the early portions of this segment is fairly cryptic, and somewhat adverse, leading you into a form of suspicious discontent. Though, based on some of this dialogue, predictions start to cultivate about the secretive aspects of the plot. But it’s more a case of foreseeing what might happen, and not wanting it to be true. However, this element still has the potential to placate some of the tension.
One of the nuances of the Asian horror market (if only for me personally), is its tendency to visually stun; ‘Dumplings’ does not disappoint, offering some excellent cinematographic work which often brings about some highly disturbing and creepy imagery.
The intentions of ‘Mrs. Li’ are quite unclear though, questionable, and lay out a theme of vanity. Questions will be asked after the end of this segment.

The film then shoots pretty much straight into the next segment, ‘Cut’ directed by Chan-Wook Park. A popular and established film director is kidnapped by one of his extras, and forced to play a dark game with him. If he starts losing the game, his wife is harmed in front of him.
The opening scene of this is transitioned well from the previous section of the collaboration; dissonant to initial expectations, it carries through the disturbing climax of ‘Dumplings’ amiably, partly through the use of soundtrack.
After this introduction, any existing disturbed emotions evaporate quickly by stepping into some slight satire on the film industry – a complete flip into a humorous dimension. However, some of this humour can be slightly obvious and quite unfunny; maybe more so for people with reasonable knowledge of the film industry, but nonetheless, it brings a pleasant feeling and its purpose is well suited. As the film goes on, the humour veers off into a more ominous inclination, it hasn’t really changed vein, but the situation in which the director is in makes it relatively macabre.
Park is incredible with his imagery, after seeing some previous projects, ‘OldBoy’ and ‘I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK’, it’s clear to see Park has unique ideas of what he wants visually; these come through well, and draw you right into the heart of the film. (I can’t say for certain with ‘OldBoy’, it’s adapted from a Manga; they’re often beat for beat replications, and I’ve not read the book). ‘Cut’ is the most graphic of the three films, and can have you quite physically tense during some of the progression.
The whole plot is a much exaggerated lurid satire upon the film industry, which again is probably a fairly familiar concept, but this is in the horror genre. ‘Dumplings’, ‘Cut’ and ‘Box’ have these slightly unoriginal base premises, but the simple act of projecting the tale through a different genre has an immediate effect, and such a device is used perfectly in all cases.
Like ‘Dumplings’, questions are asked, but these are more themed questions in the sense of what drives people to vengeance, what causes certain impulses, as well as discovering the extent of ones adulation.

‘Box’ is the next segment, directed by Takashi Miike, who’s most popular work within the western world is the 2003 film ‘One Missed Call’ which was remade for the western market for 2008.
‘Box’ is an exploration of reality, in which a young woman, ‘Kyoko’, has insistent recurring nightmares where she is buried in a box. This is a tricky plot to sum up without spoiling anything; it’s a very artistic take upon the horror genre, with some great imagery throughout which constantly appears to manipulate timeframes. Though, nothing seems to be what it actually is. It’s crazy, but in a good way.
Unlike ‘Cut’, this doesn’t carry through so well, this segment starts off ridiculously slowly and doesn’t retain the emotion of the previous segment. This can throw you off, and place you outside of the film, but if you’re patient, it gradually draws you back in. Its slower pace becomes not only acceptable, but perfect for what the film becomes. However, the pacing does feel a bit too slow, and often the prolonged shots that highlight such a feature don’t contain enough emotional strength to be deemed appropriate.
This is heavy with the art (for a horror film, at least), though it is fair to say that Miike may have tried a bit too hard to be artistic with his storytelling, and in doing so may have lost some impact amongst some viewers.
There’s some excellent use of silence, which at times can bear moments that really make you jump, though sometimes this absence of soundtrack is unnecessary. Miike tries to tell the story through more visual methods rather than through dialogue which makes you uncertain as to where the plot is going to go, but it can be seen as an inconsistent feature. There are also some instances in which you are lulled into a false sense of security, and for an artistic horror film, that’s a fantastic aspect.
The climax, however, is perhaps a little disparate to the main body, definitely not to everyone’s tastes in terms of “closure” (mind you, the same could be said for each segment), but it does make some sense when thought about. Unlike the others, this might not leave you asking too many questions, but it can provoke thought into the events viewed. ‘Box’ requires the most open mind, and compared to the pacing of ‘Cut’, this one needs a lot of patience to sit through due to its unnecessarily torpid celerity.

As a complete set, this is fantastically gripping, and an excellent display of the talent at hand. Its trepidation is cumulatively considerable, and isn’t for those not used to horror films or sensitive to being disturbed. This is most definitely highly recommended for those with idolatry for the horror genre, especially those infatuated with the Asian horror market in particular. Though, even if you’re not inclined towards the horror genre, it is undoubtedly worth giving a chance.
Each segment is unique, and incredible in its own way. Whilst it is not without flaws, its individuality can’t be faulted, objectively this is 7 out of 10, but personally I love it, and in my eyes it’s 10 out of 10!

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11
Apr
09

‘Knowing’

2009
Director: Alex Proyas
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Rose Byrne, Nadia Townsend

Give It A Chance
A time capsule is opened at ‘William Dawes Elementary School’ for its 50 year anniversary. Inside are a large collection of pictures of what children in 1959 thought the future would be like, as well as a huge list of numbers, which are in a pattern, predicting with startling accuracy, when certain catastrophic events will happen…And then it gets worse.
Alex Proyas (‘I, Robot’) directs this interesting supernatural thriller, questioning certain life aspects that are taken for granted, or simply ignored.

Nicolas Cage, to start, is poorly miscast; his talents are generally not of which to display a certain sense of versatility, but he can thrive amiably in the right role (‘Adaptation’ being my personal favourite, where he plays screenwriter Charlie Kaufman). But in the case of ‘Knowing’, he didn’t fit; the character of ‘John Koestler’ was not horribly written, that is to say he had a certain level of acceptable depth to his character, and certain nuances which were acceptable, but Cage simply couldn’t perform the character in a sufficient manner, making it hard to be instantly gripped by the film.

The film is actually surprisingly enthralling as it goes on though, but there is a certain level of suspension of disbelief required, which actually comes naturally as the film goes along. The film succeeds well in establishing its own sense of plausibility, and this is mostly brought about by the protagonist as we start to accept the way in which he perceives things. This makes it so that soon enough you’re able to disregard any scepticism for certain issues dealt with via the film, and just…Go with it. Once this portion of the film comes to light, the tension surely follows, the tension is executed adequately. There is something about Proyas’s films in general from the 3 I have seen (including ‘Knowing’), where he successfully protrudes a sense of “I feel like I know what’s going to happen, but all the same, I’m not entirely sure where he is going with this.”, this is quite a nice aspect and negates some of the predictions you may formulate before or during the film (although, that isn’t to say some parts of it aren’t predictable.)

Predetermination, or a string of random events – How do you perceive life to be?
This is the initial question put forth by ‘John Koestler’, part of instigating the suspension of disbelief is through getting the viewer to open their minds a little to certain theoretical cosmic orders. Personally, I have a fairly open mind to such things anyway, so I was a fairly susceptible specimen of the films own realm of plausibility. In this sense, the film is probably more aimed at people with a more open mind to certain principles as fate, or divine intervention, or perhaps even people who solidly believe in such notions. If you’re a person who has stubbornly decided they are in control of their lives, and there is no higher power, and so on so forth, then this probably isn’t a film for you, as it will just irate you into why they haven’t focused upon the other side of the story so much. But then, generally, such people shouldn’t really be watching supernatural thrillers anyway.

After you’ve bought into the story and the early intentions of viewer captivation, then the plot itself actually becomes quite enjoyable, you start to care about the events that follow in the film and curiosity looms amongst the existing tension, and keep you watching, as well as wanting to know what happens, regardless of any predictions developed. It’s funny how a film based on premonitions and predictions can have certain aspects in it so anticipated…Intentional?
However, having personal views on predetermination aside, religion also comes into this film. It’s quite an undesirable aspect, as it focuses solidly on the Christian faith. These elements aren’t specifically obvious, but they are a consistently underlying theme which the film could probably have done without. It makes references to the tales of ‘Noah’s Ark’, ‘Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden’, as well as the use of glacial pebbles. For a viewer heavily familiar with these stories, and well endowed with knowledge of the meaning behind glacial pebbles, then the film can be construed as predictable…In this sense, the aforementioned point possibly was intentional.

It’s amazing, thinking about it now, how a film with such a poor trailer and to be in the mainstream box office, has turned out to have quite a reasonable level of depth to it. More specifically, the script is surprisingly well written if you allow yourself to accept the films own internal credibility. However saying this, there’s a fair set of dialogue which is quite bad, and sometimes humorously so. For example “Don’t let him watch the news.”, “The caves won’t save us!” and “We have to go where the numbers tell us!” to note a few. These lines make sense during the later portions of the film.
Also, some of the CGI didn’t really match up to modern day expectations, but nonetheless, it’s acceptable. Especially during an early plane crash scene, the CGI seemed fairly poor, but the cinematography that followed in the aftermath of the crash was superb, and quite possibly the highlight of the film, if only for me personally.
On top of this, the climax to the film is severely misplaced, having done such a thoroughly good job of bringing the audience into the realm of the film, the ending is so dissonant from the rest, that you just have to draw the line and question ‘Hang on…What?’. To some, the films plausibility is a stretch upon the imagination already, and then the climax more still. But I couldn’t help but think about an earlier Proyas film by the name of ‘Dark City’ (which I’ve also reviewed), that also had a somewhat anomalous consummation, however ‘Dark City’ seemed to do a better job at letting you believe it. This is a peculiar point to make though, seeing how Proyas wasn’t involved in the actual writing process of ‘Knowing’.

Everything about this film (with the exception of the plane crash scene and a couple other scenes involving visual effects) seems to just be a string of ‘acceptable’ sequences, and nothing that yells greatness or individuality. It is a greatly entertaining film though, but not one worth going out of your way for. This’ll be a 7 out of 10, it’s quite well structured, reasonably well written and its attempts to draw in the audience work fantastically. It’s nothing to make time for, but it’s worth giving a chance. If you do, you must go in open minded.

Please Visit: Tecurious

06
Apr
09

‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’

Director: Terry Gilliam
Starring: Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro

‘Mere and Writhing in My Armchair’
Adapted from the novel by Hunter S. Thompson, ‘Raoul Duke’ (Johnny Depp) and his crazed Samoan lawyer ‘Oscar Z. Acosta’ (Benicio Del Toro) head to Las Vegas for a story, and in search of the “American Dream” via a drug riddled road trip, taking them all over the place, and into all kinds of situations.

It’s very hard to try to be objective with this film; it has a huge reputation and is highly acclaimed by many people, but it is incredibly hard to see why.
Terry Gilliam, Johnny Depp, and Benicio Del Toro; 3 incredibly great people, with incredibly great talent – Naturally one assumes great things from such a movie, and thus high expectations are in order, though these are destroyed, very quickly.
Initially the film starts off driving through the desert; incredibly well shot, captivating, with some nice dialogue and early character establishments, but the film seems to be forever stuck in a consistent loop of everything this opening scene had to offer, destroying its potential and leading into the realms of tedium.

The film sets itself up with great potential, Depp gives an interesting performance throughout, and Gilliam creates some visually stunning aesthetics, which is to be expected. The whole film is discernibly unique, with some amazing special effects intertwined with Gillam’s well known surrealism. But that is practically all there is to this film; and nothing more. These visual elements are simply not enough to sustain a sober and conscious viewer into going the distance of about one hour and fifty minutes.

Depp at times can appear to over-act; his performance is not bad, as it suits his character ‘Raoul’ which is amiable. But this ultimately doesn’t really match up to other great performances he has done before in his career. Del Toro also felt severely underused, he spent most of his time delivering incoherent nonsensical speech, and then thrashing out in fits of rage due to his drug abuse; a very inconsistent character. It is frustrating to see such talent go to waste.

As well as these elements, there is an early contempt developed for all the characters; what they are doing and what they are going to do. Such contempt leads you to badly drop out of the story to the point where you question what the story is, and where it is going. The film lacks the ability to grab the viewer and follow a story; this cumulatively gives a string of random, surreal scenes in the space of roughly two hours with no real progression. The characters don’t seem to progress either, I would hardly call using more and more drugs a form of character development, and whatever the story was, this didn’t seem to go anywhere either. Every expectation preconceived instantly became annihilated at a snap of the fingers.
Sure, to some, the visuals might be enough; but for someone like me, personally, I need a form of depth, or at least a story with an endgame.

This loss of depth is possibly down to my personal lack of experience in the whole drug culture. The film feels aimed at these sorts of people; people with hippy views, or people with at least a decent knowledge of different blazons of narcotics. Without such a thing, the whole base premise of the film is lost.
Now, I don’t want anybody at all blaming the discrepancies of this film on the heavy and insistent drug use. Such a thing feels like an obvious counteraction to specified incongruities upon this film. “Depp overacted, Del Toro was inconsistent, the story is lost, there is no depth…But it’s OK, they’re all on drugs so what do you expect?!”. I’m sorry, but in a film, this excuse simply does not fly. In the real world, yes – But in a form of art, no.
The drug use is not a problem; this is what the film is about. But it just seems like it has been used as a device designed to be an excuse for everything wrong with this film, to the point where people will blindly watch this for the visuals, and quote depth and incredibility via a farcical pressurised mitigation emanating from the film.
There is no point nor reason for the heavy drug use, other than to be surreal, shocking and perhaps controversial – Such a thing is very bland, horrid logic. You can do those things if you like, I like them too, but at least give me a story that I want to follow as well.

This whole lack of everything except visuals leads to ultimate ennui, leaving you ‘clockwatching’ after about half an hour. But as mentioned, it is hard to be objective. This seems to be one of those films that you will either love or hate, with very minimal chance of an equidistant grey area. Regardless of all its basic flaws, the subjective opinion will always prevail in such a movie. This movie can neither be quoted as “good” nor “bad”, because unlike other films, such a description cannot be impartially incurred.

Here is my advice for anyone considering watching this film; if you are easily susceptible to stunning visuals, and/or have a good knowledge or (hopefully not) good experience with drugs, then this is a film for you. I cannot give you a rating for that, you’ll have to go in open minded.
However, if you’re more like me and crave to be captured by the film, given a deep story on top of the crazy visuals, as well as occupying a lack of decent knowledge of drug culture, then this is a 2 out of 10; tedious to the point of fretfulness. I am sorely disappointed given the amazing talent at hand.

Please Visit: Tecurious

04
Apr
09

‘A Clockwork Orange’

1971
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Aubrey Morris

Never Underestimate The Power Of Revenge
Kubrick’s classic adaptation of the novel by Anthony Burgess. A timeless dystopian adventure told through the eyes of ‘Alex DeLarge’ (Malcolm McDowell); fond of rape, assault, general ‘Ultra-Violence’ and Ludwig Van.
Alex is caught at the scene of a night out of ‘Ultra-Violence’; he is convicted of murder, and sentenced to 14 years in jail. After 2 years, he is subject to an experimental abhorrent therapy called ‘The Ludovico Treatment’ designed by the government – But can the government really get a firm grip on society?

It is common knowledge that this film involves heavy violence, and thus great perturbation. But this trepidation is mostly incurred due to the more implicative aspects of the story later, and how it satirically latches onto the real world through poetry, artistry and vague surrealism.
The physical violence is more so in the early portions of the film, to give an insight into the inner workings of ‘Alex’, and is done so with great imagery.
‘Alex’ is defined to be a very basic human, but basic in the sense of primal urges and instincts. His instincts are a distorted sense of primitive nature, and he seems to prey upon the weakest members of modern society, as well as a simultaneous display of immense courage and power. This, in fact, shows ‘Alex’ to be some form of coward in a way. Though, despite that, he is still an incredibly frightening character who seems to be near enough devoid of any emotion unless subject to any form of serious negativity.

The objective behind the film flips in the middle, the first half of the movie or so highlights the basic flaws of human nature; that despite the generic civilised placation of modern society, there is no way to rid a person of all archaic proclivities that have been amidst since the dawn of time. The key to counteract this being mental self control, but only due to contemporary hierarchical civility.
‘Alex’ appears to have no self control; he displays no interest in anything other than ‘Ultra-Violence’, sex, and Ludwig Van. This makes him the perfect candidate for ‘The Ludovico Treatment’.
The government view the deterioration of society, and consider ways to fix it. Looking for good within the bad, and therefore turning attention towards the penal system…Reforming criminals, for ‘the good of society’. The film makes an excellent definition of good and bad, as well as the implications of ‘The Ludovico Treatment’; “Goodness comes from within, goodness is something to be chosen; when a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man.”

‘Alex’ is an extreme form of the modern day teenager, 38 years and this is truer than ever. There is a distinct lack of parental control within the family, the youth are getting increasingly desensitised to forms of violence and sex to the point where they are not shocking or perturbing, but exhilarating and entertaining. The government are consistently launching various campaigns to put an end to all forms of criminal dilemmas, ironically often using scare tactics incorporating forceful perturbation. Not to mention discouraging foul speech via the fallacies of “Political Correctness”.
These disturbing methods are that used in the film, to fight fire with fire, by pacifying a violent man by using imagery not dissimilar from the acts he has caused. Although, an interesting point to make, is that during ‘The Ludovico Treatment’, Beethoven’s 9th was played over some of the video played to ‘Alex’ – He deemed this as more of a sin than the actual imagery itself, and makes you contemplate the actual depth of his immorality.

Later on, after ‘Alex’ has been brainwashed, he suddenly becomes a victim of his previous actions. He even resorts to crawling in the mud, in the pouring rain, and ending up at the residence of someone he tormented before prison; someone who would love vengeance, bringing about the question as to whether the rest of civilisation is actually any better than criminals, once again, bringing to light the point of self control.
Crawling in the rain; an image of sympathy, one would assume, but not at all. ‘Alex’ makes a clear point that he begins to loathe in self pity, but only self pity, and doesn’t expect it from the audience. This is just as well, for he is incredibly undeserving, as shown in the opening scenes of the film.

The opening scenes contain the most violent imagery; but it is incredibly captivating. The violence feels as if it’s choreographed like a dance, rather than a fight scene, and the songs played during such acts give a heavily ambivalent sense of enthrallment and disgust. Is it due to modern desensitisation that we are unable to break our gazes from such horrific and extreme acts of indecency?
The film overall is remarkably captivating, even in scenes of simple dialogue, and make for a totally absorbing film. The dialogue can often be incredibly poetic, and ‘Alex’s narration is pleasing to listen to due to the incredibly well mannered execution of his speech. Poetic dialogue can sometimes be a hard thing to achieve in a film, it can often come out as contrived, forced, or out of place. But ‘A Clockwork Orange’ gives a fantastic balance between forms of dialogue.
Each vitally important character has a very distinctive manner of conversing, their own unmistakable niches and nuances making for a vast set of colourful and unique characters. For example, a detective who has quite a high-pitch piercing voice, or even ‘Alex’ who is very posh, and only swears once or twice using the word “bastard” descriptively.
The film is not only beauty in text, but beauty in appearance. Kubrick obtains some incredibly unique and wonderful shots, as well as general imagery within certain scenes. The milkbar for example, is awash with metaphorical imagery; the matt white nude female statues, the black walls with white text, the generic fascination with milk. As well as the iconic outfits of the ‘Droogs’: all white, with black hats.

This truly is an unmistakably iconic film, its controversy is blatant, and it’s deserving of its cult status. As long as there is governmental rule over society; the films message will most likely never die out, and this is why it will remain a timeless classic.
An incredible, well manifested ambivalent contradictory mix of beautiful captivation, and tormenting trepidation – 10 out 10.

Please Visit: Tecurious

02
Apr
09

‘Duplicity’

2009
Director: Tony Gilroy
Starring: Clive Owen, Julia Roberts, Paul Giamatti, Tom Wilkinson

Like The ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ Remake, With Less Casinos And More Egotism
‘Claire’ (Julia Roberts) and ‘Ray’ (Clive Owen) meet each other in Dubai, at a US Consulate. They connect, spend a night together, and then she does something highly suspicious to him. We fast forward, and learn that they are now working together in a bid of corporate sabotage to receive a nice big pay off.

The title suggests convolution, this is what you get, but intrigue you do not. The film’s opening scene builds itself up very quickly, it gives the impression that this is going to be a fantastic film, and makes you think that if you don’t enjoy it within the first 20 minutes or so, you will later on. This is achieved primarily by scriptwork, mostly by the immediate chemistry between Roberts and Owen, and is further encouraged by some cinematographic choices which don’t seem to have the effect that they should.

The film initially progresses quite slowly; leaving the audience fairly clueless for quite a long time, and the only device used to explain elements of mysterious plot development are via the insistent use of flashbacks (mostly consisting of infatuation between the two main players), which go from anywhere between 3 years and a few weeks back from the current moment in time. The use of flashbacks is not always a bad thing, but it often depends on how they are worked into the script. In this instance; it feels like they were fairly pointless, and the quantity got quite annoying, this is mostly because there didn’t seem to be a reason for it. There was no reason why the film couldn’t tell the story in a more linear fashion, and try to capture the audience in some other, more inventive, method.

The film doesn’t seem to give you much to think about at all, judging simply by the title, you’d expect to have your brains in gear, but this isn’t really the case; all you have to do is pay attention and follow the story. The main story seemed to be all there was to this film, there were very few (arguably; if any) sub plots, and there seemed to be some kind of failed undertone; a satirical stab at competitive corporations, which only seemed to vaguely crop up here and there, and didn’t seem to make any distinctive point towards anything in reality.

There is a very evident awareness that this film isn’t too sure of itself, in the sense of the genre and audience at which it is trying to appeal to. There is a lot of vaguely nauseating romantic scenes between Owen and Roberts, and this is counteracted at various points with attempted tension along the lines of a thriller. Additionally, there were a few instances of comedy delivered through dialogue, though most attempts here were pretty lame and there only seemed to be one scene which was very ‘laugh out loud’ funny. Cumulatively, these elements don’t mix well together, and made for a particularly messy mix of genres which is quite disappointing.

The acting overall wasn’t too bad; Julia Roberts is fairly solid in her role but nothing special. Paul Giamatti gave a brilliant performance, as did Tom Wilkinson. Clive Owen is very surprising however; personally, I was unsure of what to expect, I’ve always seen him as a fairly mediocre actor who gives good performances in his roles but is often very familiar, as well as this, I’ve often felt him best suited to action roles, such as ‘Shoot ‘Em Up’ as an extreme example or ‘Sin City’ as a more appropriate one. ‘Duplicity’ has no action, it is more thriller orientated in structure, and it’s surprising to see Owen thrive very well in such a role. There are still certain nuances to his performance which give off a very customary vibe, but he displayed a certain set of uniqueness to his role here and there. One particular scene he shone in is where he masquerades as a man from Tennessee, which he executed very convincingly. Kudos to Owen.

One fairly nice aspect to the film, however, is that it is fairly (if only amorphously) redolent of the old crime caper films of roughly around the 60s, however, it doesn’t quite live up to any of them. If I had the option of watching this, or anything from previous decades with equally reputable cast members, I would choose something from previous decades.

‘Duplicity’ just doesn’t even live up to basic expectations, the film has clearly been designed to entertain, yet struggles to do so. The film behaves in a manner which feels as if it should have some deeper meaning to it, some kind of subtle connection to reality, yet as mentioned, this simply isn’t worked upon. Furthermore there is a great contempt for all the characters involved, there is no established reason for why the audience should care about anything that happens during the course of the film.

This film is 5 out of 10; the performances from Giamatti, Wilkinson and Owen were brilliant, but the film reeks of narcissism. Also, ironically, if you pay to see this on the big screen; you will be duped. Despite that phrase being admittedly very platitudinous, it really is true.
This isn’t a film to go rushing out to see, there really isn’t anything special about it. If you want to see it, I advise you wait for it to hit your TV screens in a few years, then you won’t feel like such a victim of the title.

Cross-posted with: Tecurious

02
Apr
09

‘Hayden Reviews’ is now on ‘Tecurious’

Dear all,

I was recently contacted by the runner of a website called Tecurious

Filled with all kinds of wonderful articles on new technology, music, anime/manga, movies and more!

The site’s runner contacted me requesting to post my reviews onto his website, to which I happily accepted. I have now made arrangements to cross-post with the website, and I advise you all bookmark this website http://www.tecurious.com/ as well as a set up its RSS feed to receive regular updates on all it’s posts.

I hope you all enjoy Tecurious, as well as my existing and future reviews!

Cheers,
Hayden Purcell