25 February 2010

a right wicked good review

At least, that's what we'd call it in Maine. Remember, you can purchase your copy over in the sidebar.

But by denying catharsis and explanation, by hinting at a twist that's never revealed, Blanc de Blanc constructs a mystery with real staying power.

It's also a lot of fun, playing jazz with various genre elements. There's a locked box, a golden macguffin without a key. Or consider the bald smoking man who follows Jude around and insists that David is in fact a man named Archie. He's almost a caricature of menace, ever-so-slightly-fey, always accompanied by musical cues that would feel at home in a more conventional thriller but here creates a sense of comic danger, of riffing. The music intrudes on the film, and underlines his intrusion into their lives.

It's helped in that regard by the film's smart, bifurcated structure. Roughly the first half-hour could be described as a sort of deconstruction of romcoms, which have always gotten their traction from the notion that obsessive, stalker-like behaviour is romantic. The creepiness is underlined but often in a comedic way: Jude horrified as one of her friends insists that this total stranger crash on her sofa, Jude surprised to find David cooking her dinner.


McNelly's film doesn't have any bad scenes or dead weight, doesn't need to be "sped up" and thus slowed down; I think if he had less music, it would make those stylish uses of music-- the opening, the love scene, the scenes with the smoking man-- much more effective. He's a good enough filmmaker that the film doesn't need the crutch of a wall-to-wall score.

Good enough, in fact, that the film is still very, very good, perhaps even great; good enough that the film still works and the transition from romance to thriller is at once acutely noticed and seamless. It's stylish, fun, mysterious-- and, above all, highly recommended.

Read it in all it's glory here