it amazes me how you can make a film that’s basically just a british indie film equivalent of “cops,” and be lauded by film critics across the globe. the film’s style is self-consciously indie to the point of annoyance, but that’s just my interpretation. like 21 grams, the film feels far more affected than affecting and that kind of film bothers me just as much as the mindless hollywood schlock. my dad says that i should give hollywood films an automatic deduction in my grading because they have more resources at their disposal, i think the exact opposite. because they have the unfortunate hindrance of being backed by people concerned only with money they are at a distinct disadvantage to relatively independent features such as this one.
in the majority of the scenes the camera is obscured by objects in the foreground when the subject is in the mid/backround. it’s a style that is supposed to support the gritty, unclean feel and theme of the film. it’s effective, but it’s become so trite that to use it as much as oldman does shows a lack of real, singular artistic vision. instead he is just emulating a style he’s seen dozens of times before, and that’s one of my major problems with this film. the other being the subject matter. there are ways of showing this subject matter in an entertaining, engaging, or interesting way, but oldman only occasionally employs them. i was interested on some level for the first 45 minutes of the film, but so little progress – in the story, in the characters, in the feel or themes of the picture – is made that i became disengaged, and once that happens the film is essentially over. i steadily became less and less interested in the british version of white trash that i see anytime i turn on FOX. i found nothing redeeming about the characters or their struggles, and i had no meaningful emotional experience with the film. i didn’t think too much of the score, and disliked the way oldman filmed the musically driven interludes. also, not that i cared, but the film used the word “cunt” about 120 times, “fuck” about 200 times, and “bloody” 0 times. i thought the british were fond of “bloody,” but i guess oldman would know better than i. the performances were very good, but not good enough to salvage the film.