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A Hitchcockian black comedy in the spirit of 'Rope' and Agatha Christie's 'Ten Little Indians' that begs the question can murder, if done well, be considered art? An art whose medium is one of flesh and bone. Written by
Labyrinth Pictures, LLC
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Not nearly as intellectual or thrilling as it aspires to be
As one of the commenters here noted, sundance is usually inundated with gritty depressing films. R.S.V.P. is certainly not one of those. The same person said there were many clues throughout the film that hint at the surprise ending. To say that there were "clues" is an understatement. At every juncture the film screamed its torpid theme.
The film alludes several times to an underrated hitchock flick called "rope". Despite the allusions, the film doesn't even come close to Rope's level of philosophy, morality, or thrills. Instead it borrows a couple ideas, mixes in a few of the cheesier elements of mediocre American thrillers (see "Scream") and comes out with absolute boredom.
There were a few elements that could have made this film great. The allusion to rope could have gone farther and actually translated the film into a modern adaptation. One element that has changed since the time of rope is the perceived value of "fame". The film touched on this, but didn't carry anything through. The thing that could have been done right was translating the fame into a postmodern context. The killer claims he wants fame, but he tries to setup the professor as the culprit for all the murders. This could have actually been an excellent concept if the film had decided to take into account the two realities it exists in, namely: The reality of the film, wherein the professor would take the blame, and secondly the reality of the film as watched by the audience, where the killer could find fame without cost. Indeed, this would have been a clever concept that perhaps would have carried this over into the intellectual genre. Instead, the director has his character act inconsistently and later claim that he wants to be pursued by the FBI "because it's part of the game". The result is that the killer comes off as an absolute idiot, which is unfortunate because our interest has been staked in him being clever enough to pull something entertaining off.
To go back to the comment that this film is so unlike the rest of sundance's depressing flicks, I'm going to have to disagree. This having passed for an intellectual thriller is several times more depressing than boys don't cry.
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