Friday, May 20, 2011

Caged Terror

(Barrie McLean/Kristin Weingartner, 1973)
When I was in school I made a film about a couple roaming around in the trees and talking, and I realized halfway through editing that this was not just a failing aesthetic strategy but a cliche of Canadian cinema: sodden lyricism married to vacant, metaphor-burdened stabs at social commentary. But whatever my own film's failings I feel much better after seeing this...this...thing. For one thing, mine ran 20 minutes, not 85, and had more content at that: every pointless bit of business here is fawned over for four, five, six relentless minutes. The male lead is just incredible, a brow-beating, loudmouthed creep given to outbursts of drama-class improv in between philosophical insights culled from the U of T pub, and he is given lots and lots of space to make us hate him. Admittedly if he weren't an asshole then the third act would make even less sense, as a couple snarky dudes show up to provide distant and thoroughly unhelpful echoes of 'exploitation' values; but it doesn't make it any easier to watch the caged creep whimper "please" in closeup until the magazine runs out.

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