Saturday, May 08, 2010

"35 Shots of Rum" (Language - French/German) (2008) - Movie Review

Never I have seen a film so self aware of being in a movie and never I have seen a film so full of itself. This is “35 Shots of Rum” which needs a drink of its own to realize that slow passing and dull moments in life does not mean artistic film making. Vague in each of its characters, mood, dialogue and music, this film makes you question whether life is such a boring event. Such as it seems that of Lionel (Alex Descas), his daughter Josephine (Mati Diop). They are father and daughter living together and have been that way for a long time. What appears to be this silent warfare towards its audience of emanating the untold but deeply tied devotion of daughter towards father bleeds you of interest.

There lives two more residents in their apartment complex tied to this abysmal life of Lionel and Josephine. Noé (Gregoire Colin) is a lonely vagabond wandering through the globe and returns now and then to his apartment only for his fat cat. But it appears he has a thing for Josephine and vice versa. Gabrielle (Nicole Dogue) is another lonesome character living in the same building and happen to have a motherly attachment towards Josephine and a liking for Lionel. The relationship between these characters are spread around like bread crumbs behind your couch and there are no clues. You figure it out some where at the end of the film when there is no choice than to tie these people up with the little known details and boredom. When Josephine kisses Noé, they better have something going on.

People stand, stare and torture us in their silences. Lionel does the best and he has a knack to smoke without passion or pain. Even when his friend Rene (Julieth Mars Toussaint) retires and breaks down, Lionel has nothing to offer than stand still and deliver a line out of no compassion. In these empty spaces they stare, they would hear ring bell or a movement of shadow which brings a smile to their lifeless face obsolete of any real emotion.

Is this the form of movie making I am not aware of or is it something I am sociopathic towards? Nothing can explain other than the dreadful lost time of my life towards this critically praised film. Directed by Claire Denis, this is supposed to be the love a father and daughter share and how much it takes for them to face the reality of letting go of each other to move on with their life. There is no question in those delivery but why would you go with such a hollow presentation that has happiness written with sad letters? Only Denis can answer.

When a film scores 97% in rotten tomatoes, there needs a time alone with yourself as a film critic to think whether I missed something or the artistic bone of patience has wore down in me. There cannot be more appreciation from this reviewer towards a film which takes a precious slow attempt in revealing the simplest of things in life. I cannot get tired of watching “Man on the Train” which has characters similar to that of this film but with a sense of its presence and an emotional factor so much in abundance without wrestling itself with melodrama. “35 Shots of Rum” becomes pretentious and its characters for whom we do not care irks us to move towards the end we desperately wait.

There are symbolism which I did not care for and the subtle humour I was not ready for. It has laser thin characters wandering around the depth of the photography and the wide spread amount of muteness not alone in the sound but in the story itself. It drips the energy out of you with its apathetic nature and in the end even when someone gives up their hopes up for learning the mythical meaning of this 35 shots of rum, I wish I had a drink before. May be then I would have realized within ten minutes into this film that the tilted judgment of alcohol would have saved me from losing the valuable time.

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