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Fetch (1998)

7.2
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A first date: he shows up at her flat, several stories up in her building. She's finishing getting ready, so she introduces him to her dog, which loves to fetch a small red rubber ball with... See full summary »

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Title: Fetch (1998)

Fetch (1998) on IMDb 7.2/10

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A first date: he shows up at her flat, several stories up in her building. She's finishing getting ready, so she introduces him to her dog, which loves to fetch a small red rubber ball with blue stars. He tosses the ball to the dog a few times, somewhat distractedly, looks through a book ("Do I have to be me?") on her coffee table, opens the French doors to her balcony, sits down and continues to toss the ball. It takes a deadly carom, but when she emerges from her bedroom ready to go, he stays mum. Outside the building, a crowd has gathered. Will he tell her what happened, or leave it for her to put together? Is there any way out for him? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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May 1998 (France)  »

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1.85 : 1
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Short is sweet in this sourly funny shaggy dog story.
11 August 1999 | by (Dublin, Ireland) – See all my reviews

This was such a pleasant surprise. Normally one watches shorts out of a sense of duty, or in the hope against hope that one will be among the first to spot a fully fledged talent. Unfortunately, there have only been two talkie-era shorts worthy of the name genius - Le Balon Rouge and 35-Aside. Fetch may not be quite up to that quality, but it has an acute sense of genuine strangeness, that is lacking in much of today's cinema.

Although it treats of darkness and the uninsurable terrors of chance beneath happy bourgeois life, it forswears Lynchian psychodrama in favour of a bizarre lightness of touch. The decors are excessively cheerful, gorgeously coloured; the camera movements are amiably bouncy, the dog is adorable. Everything begins like a normal date - expectant, nervous - and gradually disintegrates. The horrors, when they come, are so shocking, so unexpected, yet so stylised that they're hilarious. The accumulation of wealth and comfort cannot buffet death, and yet emotion has been so sterilised in our culture, that we can only shrug our shoulders and walk away.

The lead is delightfully deadpan, shirking guilt, hoping that by not admitting anything he won't get blamed. I personally can't moralise as I'm exactly like that myself, so where others might castigate him, I can only smile in rueful recognition. It is, the newspapers tell me, an indication of out 'hands off' culture. Fetch (what a rich title) is the equivalent of a Nabokov short story, seemingly slight, detached, indifferent, parodic, yet containing a multitude of ironies, ambiguities, and disturbances. A small, comic, frightening gem.


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