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The Calling (III) (2009)
1/10
Not a Good Film...
1 July 2010
I saw this film at the 2009 Cambridge Film Festival and at the time it made me very angry, almost (but not quite) angry enough to walk out. I had been intrigued and attracted by the scenario, ostensibly tackling the respectable issue of how a young person can recognise a religious calling in today's secular Britain, but (in my opinion) this promising set-up was betrayed in almost all respects and the result, I felt, was a dreadful film, a waste of money, talent and time. Upon arriving home I wrote a scathing assessment for the Festival web-site, upon which this review is based.

Where to start. The story turned out to be a completely over-the top amalgam of all the religious-community based melodramatic excesses you have seen before. The script was abysmal, unable to decide if it was drama, humour or what? It was certainly farcical. The direction was technically adequate, but no more. Strangely, the relentless clarity and brightness of the DV image made things worse, not better, and I thought that film score composers had moved on from the mandatory use of the bassoon to underline moments of comic effect.

I came out of the screening with two questions circling in my mind: how on earth did such an array of prestigious British acting talent come to be associated with this project? And how did the funding agencies ever imagine it was a good idea? Interestingly, my Film Festival review appeared alongside a couple of others which took a completely opposite view! This left me thinking maybe I had totally missed the point of the film. Maybe it was some kind of post-modern, post-feminist, ironic celebration of the choices available to women in 2009 Britain. But if this was the case, it was far too clever for me....
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