Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Patrick Wilson, David Morse, Clea Duvall
Director: Rodrigo Garcia
Runtime: 85 min.
Genre: Thriller, Drama
There’s a twist in the tale, obviously inspired by Shyamalan’s movies, and obviously designed to shock you. But there’s a small problem that occurs while we’re on our way to meet it. You see, the journey is so boring and lifeless and we’re so down and out that we’re in a position to accept anything. If they had capped it with the final battle sequence of Saving Private Ryan, I wouldn’t have complained. If they had capped it with a song and dance number from Moulin Rouge, I would have clapped and jumped and would never have complained. If they had skipped the final few reels, and jumped straight to the credits I still wouldn’t have complained. As long as they promised to end it they had my complete support. And I didn’t disappoint them. Even when my luck was staring right into the face of an exposition that could not have been any farther from originality even if it had tried.
You know that stock twist where everything is a dream? Mark that as your reference point. Now mark the coordinates of that one where everyone is dead and cheerfully unaware of it (I realize why we have funerals. So that the dead get the memo, and don’t roam about a confused lot.). Connect the two via a line segment. Now run. Run far, far away from it. Run like the wind blows. In the opposite direction to that segment. If you don’t you’ll end up like me, staring into empty spaces and constructing coordinates and marking points and considering the mathematical equation to time travel. A flight down to salvage the past.
So, what does the plot involve? How would you feel watching it? You know, a movie where all its characters ran around in a merry-go-round with some of them falling arbitrarily while some board arbitrarily would have been considerably more involving, and dare I say more insightful. The deal is plain. You horse around for an hour weaving some silly romance which supposedly bloomed in the wake of a great mishap, and bang, in the final reel try to pull the rug. There occurs a great air tragedy, and there are left only a few survivors. Supposedly, they end up being so traumatic that they might grow the Leonard Shelby syndrome, even though they suffered only as much as a scar on their elbow. A shrink walks in, Claire her name, played by Anne Hathaway, and I’m still trying to come up with an explanation as to why. Of course, my favorite one is where she is speaking rather sternly to her agent behind closed doors. Of all the fantasies I have had for Ms. Hathaway, this would probably be the only one which would be for her good were it was fulfilled.
Now, one of the survivors, Eric (Wilson), has grown hyper-reactive, and has grown an over-bloated sense of euphoria in life. As the PhD genius Claire puts it, he must be reevaluating his priorities. Yup, that was something you needed to drill through a million books to come up with. Never mind, because all this has happened just in time for some obligatory PG-13 sex, and Eric all but disappears after enjoying Ms. Hathaway. I’m not a PhD genius but if I were Claire I would have felt exploited, whatever the condition of my patient may be. Back to the wreckage, and some of the survivors recount a different tale of the mishap implying the airline’s negligence, while some recount a different one where it is all squarely put on the overworked pilot. Claire tries venture into the truth behind these stories when the airline’s staff start resisting. You know, EVERYONE MIGHT BE INVOLVED.
But don’t pay too much attention to the plot, because it has all been re-engineered into existence. The template so obviously is The Sixth Sense. But let me tell you once again, a truly great thriller with a truly great twist in the tale doesn’t reverse engineer its plot. It actually engineers its plot, and designs its twist which is worthy of it and in a way inevitable. I wonder, why don’t filmmakers gather the courage to make a film where the twist or whatever is presented beforehand, and we’re left with the happenings of the entire film to grapple with its developments. You know, like running it all backwards with us having the knowledge of what it will all end like. It is considerably easy even to the most unimaginative narrator to place us in the character’s vantage point and do any which thing he wants. But it requires only a great film to give us that knowledge beforehand, to place us not in a First Person POV but a third person’s, and then go about his business. Such a movie won’t only work, it will actually cause devastation. I remember Irreversible, and it almost got there. Well almost. And I still applaud. For this one here though, I applauded when it finally ended. And I jumped around in joy, before I got down to drawing the coordinates. I still am. And the way I see it, it is all simple – Run. Run dear reader, run.
Posted by Satish Naidu at 9:33 AM