Beyond Clueless is a dizzying journey into the mind, body and soul of the teen movie, as seen through the eyes of over 200 modern coming-of-age classics.Beyond Clueless is a dizzying journey into the mind, body and soul of the teen movie, as seen through the eyes of over 200 modern coming-of-age classics.Beyond Clueless is a dizzying journey into the mind, body and soul of the teen movie, as seen through the eyes of over 200 modern coming-of-age classics.
The director just stitched together 200 clips from movies somewhat related to adolescence and then pretended that simply describing the plot of each movie counts as deep analysis. The viewer is dragged through five insufferable chapters in which Lyne spends about 30 seconds on each film and then brusquely switches to another one without you even realizing it, so you're just confused most of the time. And the montages dotted throughout the film are just a jumble of random scenes weakly connected to each other and set to angsty music. It's like Lyne said, hey, I found a bunch of movies with scenes of people swimming in pools, so here's a five minute montage of that! And now here's a bunch of clips of people dancing around a fire! Ta-dah, film theory!
Anytime Lyne does attempt any kind of actual analysis, it fails. He forces these deep analyses on movies that don't merit them. He also uses this ominous, horror movie-esque soundtrack throughout the film to add an in-your-face layer of angst to the whole thing. Most times it's laughable because it doesn't match the tone of what's actually happening in the clips, like in the "Euro Trip" section. I mean, it's "Euro Trip", not "28 Days Later", so chill.
Also, please know what you're getting into. The description for this "essay film" should advertise that it's about horror/slasher teen flicks, because that's where the majority of clips in this film are from. If you don't like gore, don't watch this. There's little critical reason for including the bloody sequences from "Idle Hands", "Jeepers Creepers" or "Final Destination". There's also a desperate-to-be-subversive montage of violence that makes no sense in the context of the film and is just unnecessary and immature.
The whole thing reeks of a desperate attempt by its director to be hip and angsty. But in his attempt to be deep, Lyne instead succeeds at making the movies he chose to include seem even more superficial and shallow.
And to top it all off, the narration by Fairuza Balk is terrible. Her voice drones on and on, with this know-it-all, smug tone that matches the attitude Lyne probably had making this movie. She sounds like that pretentious self-proclaimed genius that sat in your Film Theory 101 class who thought that everything that came out of their mouth was just beyond the comprehension of mere mortals.
This film just misses the mark in so many ways. I don't know how it was so popular in the festival circuit, but I really do hope this is not indicative of the future of film analysis. Because with this film, Charlie Lyne is just beyond clueless.
- May 12, 2015