Friday, September 15, 2006


Saw Red Road last night at the fest. Part one of a concept trilogy out of the UK. Filmed in Scotland, with mostly Scottish actors. The concept is this: 3 directors were given the same cast of characters, played by the same actors. They had to come up with films that used and connected all these characters. This was Andrea Arnold's debut feature and its North American premiere.

Her story is about a lonely CCTV operator in Glasgow (there are apparently something like 14 million CCTV cameras in Great Britain, watching the citizens in public places... and the places you can see from public places.) One day she sees a man she obviously recognizes and it shocks her. She tracks him down and things happen.

This film won the Jury Prize in Cannes this year... I'm not sure why. The film was fine. The only problem I had with it was that it was a bit drawn out and slow. I understand that this was in an effort to create tension, and draw the viewer into the backstory, but I think it could have done with a few small cuts. Other than that, there was nothing wrong with the film. I just didn't find it that jarring or revolutionary. The first 4/5ths of the film has you scratching your head, wondering "What is she doing??" and it creates some scenes of excellent tension. This feeling of bewilderment grows as the plot moves along, but the tension quickly decreases. When the destination is finally reached... it's met with an "ahhhh... now I get it." This, however, just seemed to lack the wallop I was expecting. Maybe I'm desensitized, or maybe some of the other films I've seen so far raised the bar. The denouement, however, was a nice wrap for the film, if perhaps somewhat trite. This could be a result of the restrictions of the trilogy concept though.

As an aside... the film had English subtitles. I'd like to point out that the film was IN ENGLISH. The fear of nobody being able to understand Scottish accents amazes me sometimes. Especially since the ones in the film weren't uber-thick. I found the subtitles (almost closed captions really... describing sounds as well) distracting as I kept reading them instead of listening to the dialogue (comes from seeing 3 foreign language films so far this past week). On top of that, they weren't accurate! Phrases, idioms, and word were often left out of sentences. Sometimes they were substititued. It didn't destroy the script, but it was annoying that they couldn't translate English into English. And it's not like they did it for the sake of non-Scottish people who wouldn't get the slang... they replaced a character saying "Cheers" with "Ta" in the subtitles for instance.

Anyway, enough with the subtitle rant. Good film... but Jury Prize worthy? Well, I'm not on the jury, so I guess I can't say.

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