Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Time To Hit Eject On The DVD Player

Time Of The Wolf(2004)Directed By Michael Haneke
Drab, pointless, humorless, affectless, dreary, are some words that come to mind quickly. The first ten minutes are schock cinema at its finest, but after that it's a more realistic-than-thou, account of an end of the world scenario. What conclusions does it come to? People are mean, racist, xenophobic, and greedy, without social structures to guide them, but maybe, just maybe, if they cling to their humanity and mercy, things could get better, the world can be reborn, etc. Basically its a halfbaked and less effective version of the carjacking scene from Steven Spielberg's "War Of The Worlds". The little boy character was trite, running away, at just the right moment when the paced lagged, becaus thats what truamatized little boys in these kinds of movies do (see The Day The Earth Stood Still remake). Theres some nice cinematography of deep darkness illuminated by small bonfires, which is not so subtle symbolism, but then again nothing in this movie was. It's less pedantic than "Funny Games", but not as clever. It's attempts to nothing greater than to be bleak, and desperate, and dismal, which is run of the mill disaster movie, but this time given a minimalist less is more- of-the-same treatment.A live horse is killed on screen, for our viewing pleasure! At least John Waters had his animals fucked before he slaughtered them. In fairness Yeelen, a brilliant film I loved, kills a live chicken at the beginning, but if it means anything (probably not to the chicken), like Waters' slain fowl, it was at least in a good movie. Does just being the opposite of the way Hollywood would film something, make it automatically artful and meaningful? Sure it's more realistic than Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, but it's themes of desperation, human redemption, and survival, are the same. Just less entertaining and with better cinematogrpahy. A real life disaster, would indeed probably go down with people crowded in barns, hating each other trying to make due, but so what? That's just a premise, not a story, and certainly not a film. The final scene of the train in motion suggests things get better, but as to why is just as mysterous as what caused the catastrophe in the first place. And ultimately, just as purposeful, to begin and end the movie; that's all. This movie wasnt very original, provacative, or challenging. It's intense at times but mostly lethargic, and begs by its somberness to be taken seriously, without anything at all serious to contribute. Life sucks, and then you stand naked in front of a bonfire.

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