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With all due respect for the previous reviewer, it makes no sense to
review a film based on that reviewer's perception about what the cast
and crew's attitude was like at a screening! I was at the same
screening (I think the premiere was the previous night), and you can
hardly blame the cast and crew for giving mostly funny answers to the
questions - they were asked about whether they had eaten puffin, what
it's like to film in Iceland etc, rather than about the film's content
(except at the end, when some freaky stalker-type in the front row
asked whether the film had any 'hidden messages'!?!).
"Guy X" is a serious film, with a light touch that means that it's unpredictable and non- generic. Some might find the way it moves tonally quite disorientating, but I think that that is what keeps it fresh. On top of that, it's beautifully crafted - only a blind person couldn't find the images arresting.
And, Jason Biggs really puts in a fine performance. Actually, I think he performs really well in "American Pie" too - he's required to do different types of acting in the two films and manages it with flying colours. I read on the internet that he won the Best Actor performance at the festival that the film had its world premiere.
If you want to see something generic, bland and predictable, avoid this film!
An engaging storyline and suggestions that it is in the mould of Catch
22 or M*A*S*H suggest great things for Guy X. A man is dropped off by
plane at a remote army post in Greenland. His identity has changed,
there is no way of correcting the records, and no way of getting off
the base. He stumbles on something that people would rather keep
hidden, and is also attracted to the commanding officer's girlfriend
all of which, together with a very crazy bunch of colleagues, puts him
in some quirky and irreverent danger.
Adapted from a well received novel (No One Thinks of Greenland), Guy X should be a resounding success but sadly falls rather short of the mark. Natascha McElhone performs admirably, but her performance is not enough to carry a lacklustre screenplay, fuzzy directing, a miscast leading man (Jason Biggs) and supporting characters with insufficient talent. For American Pie (Biggs' earlier success), such shallow efforts might have been adequate, but Metzstein is clearly trying to make an art-house movie (he said as much at the UK premiere) without the necessary skills. The film lacks pace and is very unengaging. Falling asleep in it seems more interesting than caring about whether characters' identities are being administrated out of existence. By the end of the film you might be holding on to see if there is going to be a final explanation, or you might be past caring whether there is one.
McElhone and her colleagues, in the Q&A at its Edinburgh premiere, waxed lyrical about the book, the themes of isolation, and what it does to people (she seemed more serious about the film than the director or co-stars who mostly just joked). She convinced me there was a good story there, but also that as a talented actress she had nevertheless misplaced her faith in the team to pull it off. There is no more depth apparent to the characters antics than characters from, errr . . . American Pie. If Biggs and Metzstein want to make the jump to serious cinema, they need to go back to school first. With such a finely nuanced story, the lead actor should be able to exhibit a depth of charisma or otherwise maintain interest in a way that goes far beyond the demands of an action flick or lowbrow comedy. A director must convince an audience with sufficient skill and sincerity to get them to work harder than they would for popcorn entertainment. For this viewer at least, such things were not achieved in Guy X.
On the positive side, McElhone is interesting, it was a great idea, and the choice of sets is unusual. If that is enough to get you to spend your money, go for it otherwise you might want to stay at home until this crew become more mature and deliver the sort of film that many believe they are capable of. Good ideas alone do not a successful piece of cinema make.
I recently viewed Guy X at the Montreal Film Festival and I was quite impressed. The movie was well done in it's presentation and unique depiction of a troubled war. The only downside was the director's vision of what the film was to be, switching between an army slapstick, like the movie Stripes, and a military mystery, like the movie Basic. I found it left the viewer at times wondering if we are to laugh or to just sit there in silence. On the bright side, the acting was well done. Each actor gave something special to this picture. Jason Biggs showed he can take a step away from his American Pie typecast and really deliver a dramatic performance worth noticing. As well, Sean Tucker added an extremely hilarious comedic injection to this movie. In my opinion, he WAS the comedy in this movie and should be recognized for it. All in all, a well done effort and a movie that should receive the accolades it deserves.
This film is about a military man being mistakenly posted to a
The problem with this film is that it tries to be comedy, thriller and mystery all at one time. The end result is that it does not succeed in any of the genres. It started off as light hearted, such as the mosquito combat right at the beginning. However, after that it became more and more serious. In the end, we are supposed to get emotional. However, I did not feel this way at all.
It was probably because of the strange accent used by some of the characters as well. I had trouble understanding what they say.
I think it could have been a good film, if it could stick to just one genre.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
One of the criticisms I've read and initially felt myself that this
film tried too hard to be too many things. Was there comedy? Yeah.
Mystery? Yup. Drama? A bit of that too. And when I finished watching it
last night I was left wandering 'What have I just watched?' Quite
frankly it's one of the better military comedies in the vain of
'M*A*S*H' and 'Buffalo Soldiers'. The film begins brightly and funnily
with a soldier being unceremoniously dropped off (quite literally) in
Greenland. With a case of frustrating mistaken identity Jason Biggs'
Rudy Spruance must find his feet as the bases PIO, delivering news via
'The Harpoon' in a place where nothing happens.
Much like 'M*A*S*H' the army of 'Guy X' is filled with lovable goons that while away they hours with beer "No brew, no clue." and pursuing women, and Spruance is no exception chasing after the lovely Irene Teal. All seems destined for a happy romp beneath the eyes of an ignorant Colonel.
Then comes Guy X, played with subtle futility and anguish by a brilliant Michael Ironside, an un-named amputee secluded deep in the base. And this is where the change in tone comes. As the eternal sun makes may for permanent midnight in Greenland the comedy fades also. The comfortably absurd becomes hellish and violent and the futility and sadness of the soldiers existence becomes ever more apparent "We guard things, that's what we do!".
A sublime comedy that reveals that even what appears to be happily absurd can hide the darkest secret and people trapped in their own personal darkness (all the soldiers are at the base due to their own failings), despite their outward abandon and merriment.
I was taken to see this film by a friend, so knew nothing about it
before seeing it (except that it starred the guy from "American Pie").
I thought the film was strange and unusual, but very thought-provoking,
with shades of the Vietnam War, the "War on Terror", the mysterious CIA
'rendition' flights etc. I was surprised by the way, the comic tone
shifted into something heavier and more serious.
Then, I went home and looked the film up on the internet... Boy! If ever a film was mis-sold! The poster says "Biggs is a comic genius". Well, he might be, but in this film he's the straight guy for sure. If I'd gone to see this, thinking it was "American Pie 4" (or does that already exist?), I would have been REALLY disappointed.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I just caught this film by chance on MovieCentral. I had never heard of
it, so I had no expectations going into it and the only info I had on
it was the obscure log line in MC's description of it. What I found was
odd, and I raised an eyebrow at MC's description of it as a "black
comedy". Reason being is that, like other posts have stated on here, X
was neither very dark or very comedic, and therein lies it's tonal
danger. The first thing that grabbed me was the cinematography. It
starts out as absurd comedy-drama (I loved the mistaken identity snafu
that never gets fixed), but then it flirts with drama and then melds
into an odd mystery-thriller that seems like a sub-par X-Files episode.
It was still enough to keep me interested, and not campy enough to
drive me off.
I liked Biggs in the lead role, and I was wondering if I could distance him from American Pie; I did, and the other actors put in some good work as well. There are some great lines in it too, my favorite being "We're the US Army you piece of sh!t, that's what we do. We guard stuff". I wish the filmmakers had continued with the idea of purposeless army instead of straying down conspiracy alley.
If Guy X had stuck with the kind of MASH-in-Greenland kind of story, I think it would have worked better. For, when Biggs' character stumbles on the unsecured ammo depot filled with Vietnam amputees with weird prosthetics, the movie stumbles at that exact moment. Although the Biggs/Ironside conversations are handled slyly, it goes from being a wry, art-house take on arctic army life to an obtusely unresolved, wedged-in science experiment. I also think that the ending was too wrapped up, for it needed more chaotic absurdity instead of the full-fledged RESOLUTION (as I picture it written in red ink on the screenplay), tidying up the loose ends.
So, take it for what it is. The cinematography is beautiful, the acting is decent, the absurdity is great when it isn't switching genres, but the tone and balance in the direction and the screenplay needed to be refined. No, it's not MASH or Stripes or Catch 22 or even Jarhead, but it's a quaint, interesting - if not flawed - film in the same vein. I expect the filmmakers to improve in their next project with a leaner and meaner film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
One of the perks of renting films on DVD is that you get to see a lot of small films that have either had small big screen exposure or have been released straight to DVD. For some months now I kept seeing trailers on other rented DVDs advertising "Guy X", and the trailers looked promising. The trailer sold this quirky Indy film as a black comedy - a Beckett-like theatre of the absurd meets "Buffalo Soldiers". So, naturally, when it was finally released I snatched it off the shelf, eager to watch the charming Jason Biggs breaking off from his teen comedy comfort zone... and the first twenty minutes of the film looked promising. Assuming at this point that our hero, a corporal mistakenly shipped to a remote US Army outpost in Greenland instead of Hawaii, is actually the "Guy X" of the title, I ticked the boxes as each of the jokes shown in the trailer came rushing by one by one: jokes about eating puffin pies, about guarding an ammo dump against polar bears and penguins, and about a guy desperately trying to go AWOL in the wastes of Greenland... and then what? Suddenly the film becomes all serious and preachy. Suddenly it's a darker conspiracy theory thriller. Suddenly the guy you thought was "Guy X" is not "Guy X" - Guy X is some mutilated Vietnam vet being kept alive in a secret hospital underneath the base... Now all of a sudden our hero becomes all serious and noble and devotes the rest of the film to uncovering the truth... At least that's what I think was happening before I fell asleep. I feel cheated. The makers of this film have suckered in unsuspecting viewers to watch their incoherent, badly scripted conspiracy movie-with-a-message by promising a black comedy with Jason Biggs. So what do they do? They cram the few funny bits from this miserable bore into a trailer and hope for the best. I hope the losers who made this film will never be allowed to make another movie for as long as they live.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
the lengths man can go to suppress their guilt over the past is
fascinating. i had heard a radio interview with Jason Biggs prior to
seeing 'Guy X', so knew what general tone to expect, although was
totally drawn in by the atmosphere and how seamlessly the story
unfolds. Jason Biggs shows how much more than 'American Pie' he is
capable of, with a truly natural and understated performance -
something echoed by the rest of the cast.
a very thought-provoking film. it starts off as an abstract 'out-there' comedy of sorts, although by the end has been firmly brought back down to earth, as you realise the 'madness' of the soldiers on the base is a totally understandable reaction to their situation, and a necessary coping strategy.
this is the perfect backdrop to the real story - a comment on the Vietnam war, and the impact it had on those involved, including the American government's 'damage limitation' and cover-ups.
i was not familiar with Saul Metzstein's work, but will definitely be on the look-out for future films, as i will for films starring Jason Biggs - a talent to watch
Dear oh dear oh dear.
About a US Army base in Greenland, this film could have been a winner.
Instead, due to the lack of an engaging storyline, it is pretty dull.
When the film ends, your reaction is likely to be "is that it?".
Some good performances and pretty well filmed for a low budget film, but I'd say an average day at work is more interesting than this.
The film is nowhere near as meaningful, funny, poignant or satirical as it thinks it is, instead it merely takes nearly two hours to tell a story which could easily have been well told in 30 minutes
I saw the UK premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival and I'd be very surprised if Guy X sets the UK box office alight when it is released in October.
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