Films Out Today

Posted in Film, Reviews
By Sam Bathe on 29 Feb 2008

Margot at the Wedding

Margot at the Wedding is a confusing film. For 90 minutes, the flowing script sees so much happen, and yet feels like a complete non-event.

Starring a perfectly cast Nicole Kidman as neurotic writer Margot, as you’d presume, the film is set at a wedding, or to be more precise, in the run-up to the big day. However, beyond a huge marquee in the garden, there is no sign of the big day. Margot at the Wedding instead focuses on the character and Margot’s remarkable talent to cause a ruckus. Between herself, devoted son Claude (Pais), sister and bride to be Pauline (Leigh) and future brother-in-law Malcolm (Black), opportunity for misgiving is rife to say the least.

For a film so reliant on the chemistry between characters, it was imperative each relationship stirred up intensely interesting situations. Unapproving of Malcolm, Margot throws the cat amongst the pigeons on several occasions while an argument with the neighbours does little to calm the mood.

The interplay makes for a complex film, not quite as successful as director Noah Baumbach’s previous effort The Squid and the Whale, but still involving nonetheless. Sadly, the experience is more so intense than entertaining, which will lead to a thoroughly split audience. For some this will be a work of genius, for others, a babbling drama that runs full circle without ever really accomplishing anything. Whatever, it is a very intriguing and interesting movie without the plot depth it yearns for.

3/5

Untraceable

After the horrendous Saw IV, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to Untraceable. More and more of these “torture porn” film have been popping up over the last few years and whether they really have a place in modern cinema is open to debate.

To my surprise, and going against the image portrayed by what seemed to be a very clear trailer, Untraceable lies more on the detective side than an expose on brutal killings; think The Bone Collector rather than Hostel II, and it pays dividends.

Untraceable’s lead in is a website. Ominously titled killwithme.com, when it comes to the attention of the FBI, the torture of a cute kitten is being streamed live for all to see. The killer moves onto humans but leaves their deaths in the hands of his visitors; the more people that log on, the faster each victim dies.

The task of taking the website down is dumped on the desk of FBI cybercrime officer Jennifer Marsh (Lane). After a few simple clicks, she thinks she’s done the job, but using a complex riddle of spoofing servers and bunch of other techno babble you won’t understand, the website pops back online, stronger than before. Bit by bit, Jennifer and her FBI squad start to crack the case but before they know it become embroiled in the case leading to a thrilling finale.

Making use of an interesting concept, Untraceable sadly falls some way short of the best detective thrillers and the graphic torture sequences might blot the minds of some viewers. Sure, the premise and script are solid and you certainly won’t get bored before Untraceable’s 100 minute climax, but it doesn’t do anything particularly different to its peers, falling into the usual horror clichés. Diane Lane is impressive none the less as the lead FBI agent on the case, adding a sense of realism to the story.

Untraceable is a long way of a technical masterpiece but for an entertaining night out, it will just about fill the spot.

2/5

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