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|Index||12 reviews in total|
I must admit I don't know anything about independent
films('mumblecore', is it?), but I stumbled onto this one after seeing
more commercially successful indie films like Donnie Darko, Memento and
Interview. 'Quiet City', a beautiful sounding title I might add,
pleasantly surprised me. As another reviewer mentioned, the
writers/directors focused on dialog, which is a refreshing experience
for this blockbuster frequenter. I've seen some other small films where
they take on too heavy subjects like really finding the meaning of life
or why we die etc. Which, for me, made those movies come across
pretentious because in my humble opinion it's pretty arrogant if you
think you have a quick, easy answer for life's most difficult
questions. It's not wrong to have a vision of your own but if you're
not Stanley Kubrick (see: 2001) you probably shouldn't touch the
subject (especially as a young filmmaker). 'Quiet City' did not make
this mistake, the dialog seemed realistic and honest and the acting was
very natural. No big climaxes or plot twists but a little taste of the
good simple life in New York.
Nice, but only for people who like alternative film.
Much like Hannah Takes the Stairs, Aaron Katz's Quiet City focuses more
on dialogue than on plot. I mean, here's the plot, in a nutshell. Girl
flies to a strange city to meet her friend. Girl meets strange boy and
asks strange boy for directions to diner so that she can meet her flaky
friend that is always late and sometimes never shows up (I mean, we see
where this is going, don't we?). Strange boy accompanies girl to diner,
into diner, after diner, and several days following. There's some other
people involved; an art show and after party; and some six degrees
action to make the plot a bit more interesting; but that's about it.
But it's a nice film. That's really all there is to it. This is yet another film by another "ultra-indy" filmmaker, focusing on twentysomethings and the way they communicate. The scene, cutely coined mumblecore seems to lump together a group of filmmakers (coincidentally, all of them seem to like each other and/or work together) who all seem to be focused on the ultra-indy tactics like self-distribution, microbudgets and digital marketing of their own films. It's interesting how the six degrees theme in the film, Quiet City seems to ring true for this whole mumblecore thing. These guys all started out individually, but we've seen quite a collaboration this year. I'm anxious to see what's next for the "mumblecorps"?
First of all I should state that this is not the first independent film I've seen. I have nothing against independent films in general. On the contrary I have seen many independent films that I would highly recommend. Unfortunately this was not one of them. I suppose I can appreciate the film's artistic quality. It is about as true a "day-in-the-life-of-the-average-person" story as you'll find. The dialog seems almost unscripted. The conversations in the film are light and pointless, to the point of being somewhat awkward, which is exactly what one would expect from the typical interaction amongst American adolescents of today. I suppose it's possible that I am missing the boat here but by the end of the film I failed to see how I didn't just waste 78 minutes of my life as I watched in sheer boredom two fictitious characters waste 78 minutes of theirs. Maybe I'm alone here but when I sit down for a movie I do so with the expectation to be inspired or entertained. At the very least I expect my mind to be stimulated in some way. This movie did none of those things for me.
I might not be an aficionado of the "mumblecore"-genre, and this film
didn't make me one either. But it did give me a minor crush on the
female lead (and writer) Erin Fisher, maybe that's a good thing.
So in this film we see a cute girl from Atlanta (Erin Fisher) who visits New York, can't get hold of her friend, and then instead hangs out over 24 hours with a random slacker (Cris Lankenau) she meets at the subway station in Brooklyn.
It's cute, and you do get to feel that the boy and girl are connecting over an intense period, but it didn't really made an impression on me. Maybe it wasn't dramatic enough, maybe the realism bored me, maybe the long shots were a bit too long, or maybe it was the "American" dialogue.
What I mean by that is that they use all of these "pause words" a lot. I even spent a few minutes counting them (by opening the subtitles in Word): "like" (229 times), "you know" (28 times), "kind of" (39 times), "sort of" (22 times), "uh" or "um" (43 times), "I don't know" (22 times) and "really" (55 times).
It isn't that much dialogue in the movie, so that is a LOT of pause words, all of which are basically unnecessary for saying something. (Sarah Hellman's two-minute random monologue might have accounted for half of the "like"-quota, for instance. How ditzy is it possible to come across as?)
Even if this is how Americans actually talk, for us europeans it sounds like they have no vocabulary and are very slow thinkers who need to insert a lot of "pause words" just to get through a sentence.
"Mumblecore" might be supposed to be ultra realistic, but I am pretty sure it could benefit such movies to tighten up the script, thereby making it more interesting and transcend boring reality just a little bit.
Finally I have to make the obligatory reference to "Before Sunrise" and say that it's unfortunately much more interesting, substantial and memorable than "Quiet City", even if the two movies are a bit different in style and shape.
I realise this review will blow all my chances of ever getting to flirt with Erin Fisher (and Sarah Hellman), but it's mostly meant as a warning for people who are interested in "real" movies, and also as a message to the director Aaron Katz.
A movie like this would have been much more interesting if the dialogue was better and more meaningful, and if it just had more of a "real" movie-feel about it. Right now it seems like something anyone could improvise over two days. And that's unfortunately not a compliment.
But of course I would rather have a thousand indie-movies like these instead of the usual predictable Hollywood-crap. I only wish they could be better than this.
'Quiet City' opens with Jamie, an attractive young woman from Atlanta,
arriving in New York to visit an unreliable girlfriend, who fails to
show up at the diner where they had arranged to meet. A random
stranger, Charlie, is asked for directions, and he subsequently offers
to let her stay at his scruffy apartment. The camera follows the pair
throughout the next day while they try to contact Jamie's pal, take a
walk in the park, visit a friend of Charlie's to retrieve a hat, go to
a gallery opening and then on to a party.
The film's minimalist plot is thematically similar to Richard Linklater's "Before Sunrise", but its production values are far more basic and it lacks the mythic element. The two protagonists are neither as articulate nor charismatic as Linklater's Viennese lovers, and their relationship is considerately less intense. However it becomes fascinating to observe a friendship develop through commonplace activities and banal conversation. Much of the film's success is due to Erin Fisher's easygoing Southern charm as Jamie - her beautiful eyes and enigmatic amused smile gradually dismantle Charlie's slacker exterior to expose a genuine person worthy of her affection. If anybody cares to give an even break to a film lacking the usual dramatic elements, it could provide some subtle pleasures.
This film is one of the most beautiful and poignant that I've ever
seen. I'm 23, and to finally see a film that accurately portrays the
conversation, fears and apathy of 21st century post-uni lifestyle is
absolutely liberating. There's a great essay with the DVD which points
to Tzu and Cassavettes (sic.) as pioneers in this genre and influences
which I'm sure are fair and true but it's not the cine-literate side of
this film I love. It's the human side. The side where a simple silly
dance between 4 people in a room is an expression of utter freedom. The
side where a mere high five is f****** monumental. Conversations with
strangers that go nowhere and do nothing and all the while the city is
peaceful and contemplative. The trains keep going, the traffic lights
Take a chance on this movie if your eyes and ears are open to a different perspective on twenty something life.
Katz's third feature is a rather sweet offering about a boy and girl
who meet accidentally and form a close friendship over the space of a
weekend. It's best viewed without too many expectations - the rough
cinematography and absence of plot will disappoint some film-goers,
however both the characters and the performances are convincing and
endearing, and the mood is suitably quirky throughout.
Yes, the movie is somewhat self-indulgent; some scenes would have benefited from a trimming-down, yet the narrative flow is unhindered by the slower pace. Although Katz doesn't emerge from 'Quiet City' as a director with an agenda, after his tedious comment on teenage rape, 'Dance Party USA', it's perhaps for the best that he sticks to observational film-making, and leaves social commentary well alone.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Was looking forward to seeing this for a few months and just saw it
last night. Unfortunately this wasn't what I was hoping for, I found
the movie to be something that will be very forgettable in the long
However, there were some good things I liked about this picture. Obviously the music and the cinematography was very well done, especially the music. It's so simple and very beautiful and fitting to the film. Many of the notes struck in the music linger and then fade away with a few seconds til the next note. This definitely helped set the mood of the film, and worked extremely well with the visuals.
Dialouge is interesting to look at in this film. First of all it's very natural, and the characters themselves seem very real. This is great in a film, but however, I don't think this should be the only thing, and unfortunately this is mostly what we're left with in this film. Watching these two characters meet really reminded me of how similar this is to my own life, yet that's all it is (for the most part). I don't find this film challenging, or even attempt to bring any kind of dramatic tension into the piece at all. Not having any dramatic tension isn't necessarily bad thing in the case of a few situations. Mutual appreciation (another mumblecore film) had very little dramatic tension and still was very entertaining, and more of a portrait of a person's life. This is really a portrait of a new relationship, and two people finding each other in modern times. And on top of that kind of boring.
I don't feel like this film is really trying to say anything. It's rather just trying to show the viewer something real in times where that can be hard to find. But in this case it fails, because it does so with out even attempting to find anything deeper. In a way I almost feel this film is shallow. It just scratches the surface of life without attempting anything more. And just as in with most new relationships, the easy part is when you first meet the person. But after awhile you really get to know them and you see who the real person is.
And one final thing. I feel like some of the shots were ridiculously too long. To be specific, the CU shot of the subway passing by in the opening must have gone on for over a minute. Why? Highly, and ridiculously unneeded. You can ponder over an image like that for 10 to twenty seconds and then move on.
If you're looking for more than you can find in your own real life, I would pass on this one. Go rent Before Sunrise instead. Much more thought provoking and also captures the fleeting and intense nature of youth. You'll get much more out of it than this film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This was without a doubt the WORST hour and 18 minutes of my life. The
acting, the directing (or lack thereof) was mind-numbingly bad. I
cannot believe that people are giving any good comments for this movie.
There is no plot, and for a "dialogue-driven" film, it literally had the worst dialogue I've ever come across in my 28 years of life. I think it was all improvised, and horrible at that. I am an indie film fan, live in NY and frequent Sunshine to see great indie films. This, however, cannot even be called a film. It is like some horrible home video, some horrible documentary. Nothing happens.
Save yourself, DO NOT watch this movie. Please. I have nothing to do with the director or actors and this is not some sort of review aimed at hurting anyone involved with the movie. I have never felt anger after watching a movie, but I feel so angry right now. I cannot believe this passes for a film. And I cannot believe my girlfriend made me watch it.
Save yourselves!!! It is like watching a 78-minute awkward moment! Nooooooo!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
(Mild Spoilers) Touching and heart-felt little film that has Jamie
coming over from far off Atlanta to the Parkslope section in Brooklyn
to meet her friend Samantha whom she plans to stay with over the
As things turn out Samantha is a no-show with Jamie meeting Charlie who's on his way home on the subway. Having no place to stay Charlie is more then willing to let Jamie crash at his pad. It doesn't take long for both Charlie and Jamie to click as the two ,dispite having lived almost 1,000 miles apart, have a lot in common with each other. The movie "Quite City" has Charlie and Jamie make the best of the brief time that they have with each other which includes going to a local art-show that Jamie's Brooklyn friend Robin, who's like Jamie a native from Atlanta GA.,is sponsoring.
In between meeting Robin and her somewhat obnoxious boyfriend, and Charlie's high-school buddy, Kayle Charlie had a chance to get a hold of his prized fedora that he once left over at his friend Adam's apartment. It was too bad that Charlie got so involved with Adam talking about the good old days that he forgot to take his fedora with him! After going to an all night party with Kayle and getting both high and drunk on pot and booze Charlie and Robin take the subway home only to fall asleep and miss their stop, Smith/9th St, and eventually end up in Conley Island.
Even though Jamie didn't meet the person she was to see in Brooklyn-Samantha-she did meet the handsome and sensitive Charlie Miller who not only got to spend the weekend with her but made her feel at home and know that her visit to the Big Apple wasn't a complete waste of time. You know as the movie is ending with Jamie on a flight back to Atlanta that her brief time with Charlie, who among other things Jamie gave him a free haircut, would eventually grow into something much bigger; The next time that she decides to visit her friend Samantha, who'll hopefully remember to show up, in the "City of Churches": Brooklyn New York.
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