Scallop Pond is a psychological mystery/thriller where greed, sex, and selfishness push life beyond reality and nothing is what it seems to be. Our story takes place in the plush town of ...
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Scallop Pond is a psychological mystery/thriller where greed, sex, and selfishness push life beyond reality and nothing is what it seems to be. Our story takes place in the plush town of Southampton, New York. Nights are tarnished by mystery and fear when young men are murdered without a trace of a motive. The story revolves around Carla Wilson, a famous mystery writer, her sister Erika, and the people who surround them. An obsessive fan with peculiar demeanor shows up in the most unexpected places and the two sisters later fall under suspicion when the trail of dead men leads to their door. Written by
Question: A man is at his father's funeral, where he sees a beautiful woman. He is attracted to her, but cannot make a move since he considers it to be an inappropriate place and time. So he goes home and kills his brother. Why? Answer: There is no right and wrong answer, but if yours went something like: "So he can see the woman again" you have a mind of a serial killer.
Thinking at the "Pond" the birth of an auteur
It is commonly known that if a film could keep you on the "edge of your seat" then it is a good film. But what if instead it keeps you deeply seated, holding on to handles and uncomfortably shifting? I can testify that it is equally good, if not better. Scallop Pond made my palms sweat a little. If you are a knowledgeable reader and viewer and you think that you are ahead of the game in a usual "plot development vs. the audience" chase stop. Don't even try to figure it out or predict the events beforehand. You will simply waste your time and even if you succeed (somehow), you are risking missing out on the details that Scallop Pond is so rich with.
If film noir critics still lived and wrote (which some do), they would have fun with this one. It is all there in the first glance the femme "fatale", the nightmarish quality, darkness, entrapment, mystery, voice over But it's not your typical film noir, or "neo-noir", or ANY noir for that matter. It's dark indeed, but not even by means of lighting or cynicism.
There are no fully sympathetic characters in it at all. At certain times we might feel something toward one or another, but 1) chances are we are being "mislead" which I will explain or 2) we are aware of their "pre-existing" flaws, which work to keep us detached. That's is in a way what makes it almost real we live in a world surrounded by people like these, who do bad things, even horrible things. So one can argue that the "outlook" on the world in Scallop Pond is not dark at all, but simply realistic and yet stylized.
Visual style stays consistent throughout the film: close ups of people's faces drifting in and out of the frame are a landmark. It creates a sense of discomfort we are forced to be so close to the characters "physically," but their instability prevents us from identifying with them. It is a distancing device, one of the many in Scallop Pond. But besides that, it is simply an aesthetic choice, a celebration of the beauty of textures, such as faces.
From the very beginning of the film we are never "lied to" as the audience, we make the assumptions deriving from our own perceptions of reality. That is partially the reason why the protagonist happened to be a female: despite a strong noir presence in the film, as Carlos Ferrer himself mentioned noir was not the "objective." So Carla Wilson (Alexandra Buckley) is not a conventional femme "fatale", she is not a feminist statement she is a reflection of our own expectations. She is after all a writer, a manipulator of the media I see a parallel, don't you?
We usually associate a brutal serial killer with a male. So it doesn't matter if we are supplied with enough information to solve the mystery, we still allow ourselves to be "mislead." However, if you paid enough attention, you will still walk away confused. That is because understanding everything right away all answers laid out in front of your face is NOT what the film is set out to do.
Then what is it? "It's about trusting the audience, make them make the movie, let them be a part of the process, force people to walk rather then sit (that's where the repetition of feet comes in), that's why the film in a way is incomplete not everything makes sense." (Carlos Ferrer)
The audiences nowadays are not given enough credit, they got to used to having all the information spelled to them. It takes an auteur with a strong sense of purpose and visual consistency, but mostly honesty and trust in his viewers to deliver a film that is complex and honest at the same time. Interpret it the way you want it is all up to you. Enjoy.
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