Sunday, September 13, 2009

Capsule Reviews: Nymph & Independencia

Because the wi-fi in Toronto is even more erratic than usual, here are some smaller reviews, with maybe some bigger ones down the line (eventually). Oh, and I guess I should start adding some number or grade to these things. Here ya go:

Nymph (Pen-ek Ratanaruang) - A love triangle of sorts takes a weird turn when a mystical Thai tree nymph enters the picture. But not that kind of weird. The slow, quiet, "I'm-not-sure-where-this-is-headed" kind of weird. This is wonderfully atmospheric for the first two-thirds--a mix between horror tension and arthouse pretension. But the ending totally ruined everything Pen-Ek had built to that point. All the ambiguity he'd carefully set up is thrown aside for an almost shockingly trite message about not ruining marriages. Grade: C

Independencia (Raya Martin) - A technical marvel, but curiously inert. Made in the style of a 1930's studio picture (complete with overdubbed actors and painted backdrops), it depicts the life of two generations of Filipinos, who struggle to survive in the forest after the American occupation of the early Twentieth Century. The look is just right, but the characters are ciphers, pawns in a political allegory that never comes to life. Grade: C

Coming Soon: The White Ribbon, Enter the Void, Valhalla Rising and more...

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