Reviews written by registered user
|3 reviews in total|
At the time that I am writing this review, this movie has an abysmal
rating on IMDb (less than five stars).
If IMDb were a room full of people with exceptional taste, I guess I would understand why. The movie is thoroughly derivative; it tries a little too hard. I get the feeling that it's supposed to be a 'Hunger' for the modern era, moody and atmospheric-- they've even traded the classical and operatic soundtrack for haze-scene and low key beats looped with synth harpsichord melodies -- and yes, sometimes it falls a bit short and comes off amateurish.
But IMDb is not a room full of people with taste, so I don't get it. There so many movies on this site with absolutely no redeeming value that have ridiculously high ratings. This movie, while not art, did try; it never came off heavy handed, overall it was approachable, and entertaining. I keep asking myself what about it is causing people to react so negatively; the only thing I can figure is that perhaps the vampire crowd are portrayed as too cultured or something, I don't know.
Ultimately I guess I'm writing this review for people like me, those who put a lot (perhaps too much) stock in IMDb ratings. As a fan of films like The Hunger and the whole 'artsy, excessively classy but tortured immortal' cliché I can honestly tell you that I didn't think this film was an utter waste of time (at least no more so than many other movies). It was a perfectly fine hour and a half spent on a rainy afternoon.
I find its current rating a bit unfair.
This movie isn't clever or witty; it tries way too hard. Brooks comes at you a gag a second with farts, silly puns-- hardly even a chuckle. I respect the guy, I've seen other things of his that I found pretty amusing, just not this one. Perhaps there's just something of this movie that's been lost to time. I get that its dated. I tried watching it with the mindset that at the time it was produced, it was probably pretty shocking and I completely admit that most contemporary humor isn't any better, but I stopped watching at about 3/4 of the way through, I just couldn't take it anymore, not because I think its racist or anything like that-- I get that the film has a more-or-less positive message in that regard-- but because its just not funny.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film, technically and aesthetically stunning, is certainly
successful in establishing a mood that is pervasive throughout the
entire work. I imagine that Melville must have been pleased with the
finished product but I do wonder how Cocteau felt about it.
My curiosity stems from the fact that the images of the written work were always successfully employed by the imagination to increasingly sinister effect. The siblings were basically two parts of the same being and their histrionics as well as their torture of each other felt as natural and unremarkable as a self-deprecatory comment made to oneself about some minor mistake. This histrionic nonchalance was missing from the movie. Watching the characters harass and chase each other around was a two dimensional representation of a dynamic that would, i think, have been far more successfully established by relying less upon running and screaming. Their games had an emotionally taxing impact upon those in their presence and this wasn't established too well either. Ultimately, I guess that most of these observations can be attributed to actor/observer effect, the difference between being a part of a story, as in a well written book, and watching a scene. I just found the characters to be somewhat laughable at times in the film and I imagine that had I've not read the book, the ending may have seemed excessive and self-indulgent.
I genuinely think that the creative realization of this work paid too much attention to the aesthetics/mood of place and not nearly enough to aesthetics/mood of dynamic. What results is a well-acted, aesthetically pleasing, character study of a few individuals that never really feel real. Melville is often guilty of this but for his subject matter, which is typically more plot driven, it works. The hustlers and lowlifes of the pulp era noir flicks aren't supposed to be accessible. Those films unfold like clockwork scenes performed by little tin wind-up thugs-- and its perfect, don't get me wrong. But the power of the 'two sides of the same coin', co-dependent siblings fable is the pervasive sense of dread that one feels as the dynamic starts to unravel; this is absent from this film. Nonetheless, I give this film seven stars for being a provocative work by two artists for whom I have a great deal of respect.
'Dead Ringers' is an example of the same fable that I thought was remarkably well realized. Of course it's nowhere near as good a movie from a technical standpoint.