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in classical Chinese painting, what gets left out of the composition is of crucial importance. potter's "rage" omits quite a few of the compositional elements we take for granted as essential in modern cinema - a bold move in a world dominated by Hollywood tropes and CGI. "rage" isn't what i'd call an experimental film, it's a film produced with an acute awareness of cinema as a super-saturated medium, in which the audience already knows all there is to be known. there are no new stories to be told; no killings which haven't been shown, no motivation which remains unexplored, no new formulas. but this literate, knowledgeable and sophisticated modern audience produces a space which can be activated by leaving things out, rather than putting things in. potter knows that all she needs to do is map out a bare structure, with sumptuous color and first rate actors, and all the rest of the work can be played out of the expectations we all bring to bear on the cinema experience. "rage" is a who-done-it, with andy warhol's "screen test" film series operating in the background, dressed with a kind of glossy-magazine-photoshopped look in which everyone's irises are a suspiciously similar sci-fi hue, and with a nice little twist in the end which implicates us, the passive viewers. i thought one of the most surprising things about the movie was the palpable "rage" expressed in other reviews on this site. we react like addicts when the sugar-candy experience of having everything laid out for our adrenal stimulation is withheld. this isn't a movie about the fashion industry, its about the modern obsession with surface, with effects, and its background theme is intensely political. it's characters are ciphers for the main players in the infotainment infiltrated everyday world, the businessmen, the celebrities, the wannabes, the innocents, the jaded old-hands, the haves and the have-nots. for those who were disappointed by this work, who weren't fascinated by watching, up close, great actors working, i sincerely hope michael bay's next SFX blockbusta isn't too far away. . .
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