Welcome to JS's film reviews page. JS has written 2 reviews and rated 15 films.
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It's hard to see what Winterbottom was trying to say with this opaque glimpse into the relationship between two people; the main reason for this is that we never get more than just that, a glimpse. Sadly the first British mainstream film to feature real and, in the main, relaistic sex, is a missed opportunity that makes you wish someone with more on their mind than just pushing censorship boundaries had been at the helm. Usually I would start a review like this by saying that the film focuses on the relationship between the two protagonoist, but it really doesn't. What we get is a collage of concert footage, sex scenes and domestic scenes, but at no time are we allowed into their relationship or even their characters - the male protagonists' name isn't even mentioned onscreen - with get only the slightest hints of their personalities - he's a scientist who waffles on in voiceover about ice and she may have mental health issues. They both snort coke and, in one scene, visit a lap dancer who gives Stilley's character oral sex which seems to cause her some emotional problems... for about ten seconds. And this is the films fatal flaw: it never takes its dramatic promise anywhere at all. Just when you think a story line is kicking in the film cuts either to another concert - and was that the best indie music they could get? - or another sex scene.
This film had so much potential and could have been a searing exporation of the path a relationship on sex can take but Winterbottom decides to just... well... do nothing with anything. And at 65 minutes, and you have to take the fifteen or so minutes of concert footage out of that, there was never going to be time for anything more than a cursory glace at two people passing in time.
The sex scenes are what they are, with both leads selling them convincingly and certainly seeming to enjoy what they are doing - but the curiosity peters out very quickly and, without a dramatic story to hang them on, one fuck scene is pretty much like any other.
The film looks great, shot on HDV with available light in a pretty grungy flat it has a documentary feel that just makes me wish even more I had been watching something I would want to revisit and feel was an important viewing experience.
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This beautifully acted and written little (mostly) two hander makes great use of its main location, an enormous and wonderul flat - the Director's, I suspect - and belies the fact it probably cost the price of Tom Hank's Lunch Bill to make.
Shot in HDV and, by the looks of it, using only available/natural light, the film has a sheen of reality and 'everyday-ness', further enhanced by the exquisite performances of its small - actually tiny - cast. Star/writer/producer Brisseau is wonderful as the coccooned, kind and slightly grumpy writer who has been in hiding since the death of his wife 29 years ago. Virginie Legeay as the mysterious girl he takes under his wing is his equal; enigmatic, beautiful and shrouded in a slightly chilling sadness that makes you want to adopt her.
In its early moments the film plays like a standard drama of an elderly man forging a relationship with a young woman who has difficulty trusting him, but about halfway through the film throws its twist at you and it's effective - if a little (perhaps intentionally) comical on repeat viewings - big scare moment, which is actually very modest but fits in perfectly with the proceedings.
We are then into supernatural territory, Gallic style. The writers guest, it transpires, has a connection with the dead and how this relates to her 'landlord' and their relationship makes up the remainder of the movie.
The film is, like its female protagonist, wholly enigmatic and doesn't quite answer your questions, preferring to add to the mysteries of life it ponders. This is refreshing and welcome. The modern horror/ghost story tends to be a mudhole of CGI, noise and blood that hammers its points home and tends, at least for me, to leave the viewer wishing for a moments respite from the chaos. The old adage: a lot of noise and fury representing nothing, always stays in my head during these films. Thus The Girl From Nowhere is a treat, and a gem of economical story telling that is much, much more than it first appears.
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