Cadaver, Mechanical Love & Just Another Love Story reviews
Carl files one of his last reports from the 2008 Edinburgh International Film Festival, and he's been watching odd films again...
It’s good to be home. My comfy chair beckons me, and my fingers want to tap out my reviews of all the films I missed out so far. Don’t get me wrong; I do miss the wandering round watching brilliant films that haven’t been seen before by the public, but it was really hard to get a minute to myself to type anything out. However, here I have my own little set-up; tea, biscuit, feet up and listen to some music. Let’s see if it works.
Just Another Love Story
If you were to go into this movie by just looking at the title, you may think it will be a romantic comedy. You’d be entirely wrong, as the film starts with three very different, and seemingly unconnected ‘love scenes’, two of which are entirely caustic and end in death. It’s a very sharp booming beginning, which already has everyone on the edge of their seats. The film starts thereafter, with a great mix of romance, comedy and crime scene photography. Main character, Jonas, is the photographer in question and is in the middle of a rut with his wife. When a car crash mostly caused by Jonas injures a woman, their two lives collide in an interesting way.
The film is complex in its plot, but unnervingly, not well planned out. It’s an interesting scenario and the few humorous scenes within work just as well as the dramatic, making for a good mix. Unfortunately, the mix is not complete, as it doesn’t really gel together fantastically. When it works, and it does, it swims. When it doesn’t, and it does this too, it flops into a mess of snoring. I’m not familiar with writer and director Ole Bornedal’s other films, but this seems like a good starting point for this kind of a film in his career. It’s a good little try at a complex and intuitive film that pulls a few new strings, but it is in no way perfect.
Mechanical LoveWhen a man makes robots based on members of his own family, it seems like an interesting plot for a documentary, even if it is creepy. It follows his quest to make robots even more like humans, using himself as a starting point, and trying to make his family communicate with it like it were him. It’s a little bit strange, and a whole lot scary. On the upside, he hasn’t perfected the robot to human ratio, so they aren’t entirely like Star Trek’s Data, so we don’t have the ‘are they just as human as humans’ debate just yet. He has some scary ideas and some scary plans but at least now we know what they are and how far along he is in achieving them.
There is also a side plot about a little robot seal called Paro, who uses communicative technology to determine how much attention they are getting. They focus a lot of this story on a woman in a retirement home, who has recently been given a Paro. There are two sides to this story; the first is that it is a good thing to keep her busy and communicative, the second is that it is strange and creepy for this woman to have this robot distract her from the real people that are around her. This documentary presents us with the two sides of the arguments, with no real opinion given one way or the other, and thus leaves us with an empty feeling in its heart. If the documentary maker had given the story a voice, then its heart may have been much fuller.
Emerging from the hazy background of Asian horror films, this Thai film has a sizeable amount of films to beat, most of which have the same basic elements running throughout. The girl with the long hair over her face comes to mind. New medical students need to come to terms with cutting up dead bodies, to learn more about the human anatomy, when out of the blue, one of them dies. Where? Like you have to ask, in the same room with the cadavers! So, this pattern continues, and more people die, what else do you expect?
Well, where to begin, it’s a very typical Asian horror film, and while the girl with the long hair over her face doesn’t make an appearance, it does fall into some of the same traps. For instance, they go on a journey to find out the truth, which also happens in The Eye. It’s a little bit flat, and by the first death, utterly predictable. It sticks to the usual plot formula of keeping you in the dark, revealing a little bit, killing someone, then revealing a little bit more on repeat, and does it to a competent standard. But really, is that what you want from a cinema going experience these days? My guess is, probably not.