Friday, December 23, 2005

Paranoia: 1.0 (2004)

Step 1 to making 'instant thriller': add 1 bucket of cold sweat

Genre: Sci-Fi Mystery Horror Thriller Drama (USA, Romania, Iceland)

Starring: Jeremy Sisto ("Six Feet Under"; May), Deborah Kara Unger (Silent Hill; White Noise)

Directed By: Jeff Renfroe (Civic Duty), Marteinn Thorsson

Overview: A computer programmer begins receiving unknown packages in his apartment. Stranger things continue to haunt him as a disease seems to spread throughout his building.

Acting: I wouldn't call the cast B grade, but they aren't Hollywood's most recognized. Jeremy (above) played the crazy brother in "Six Feet Under", Deborah (below) has also been in Crash. I think this cast is in the zone where they still make film because they have something to prove. They can still go somewhere and make something big out of themselves. These roles were important to them, and though the direction led them to strange places, that was the point and they all acted very well, especially the weird tertiary bit characters.
Rating: 9

Cinematography: Every single scene a work of art. From costume to lens filters and camera angles, from colour coordination and scene scouting, the future is made bleak, but it's great to look at. The art director should be proud. A spectacle for the eyes. Without a doubt, a perfect vision.
Rating: 10

Script: The talk of the characters was well done and perfectly quirky. This is one of those 'wait to spring everything on you till the end' thrillers, so there's actually a lot of visual without too much talk, meaning that when there's talk it's pretty heavy stuff, or filled with clues. I found it enjoyable enough.
Rating: 7

Plot: Sadly, such great suffering lies in this category that I can't hope to give it praise for being decent. As I have recently said about thrillers they often wait too long to give you answers to things. Sometimes it's just not about the trip but piling everything up till the end. Do you know anyone who's favorite theme is Thriller? If you do, let me know, because I don't. The plot itself was thin.
Though not unbelievable, the story needed more meat, maybe more clues, more character development, even if it meant giving too much away for the grand climax. Just know that I score poorly for lack of, rather than stupidity of.

Rating: 4

Mood: I'll give it to you big time. Constant, ever present, everything in this is creepy, while still having the future as a well grounded and believable place. Their little corner of the world is one where such potential ended up unfulfilled and laid to waste. Every character is a touch of dark corruption, and throughout the entire film you're there, haunted with the knowledge that the cynical futurist predictions, a la Philip K. Dick may just come true, regardless of everyone's efforts. If the look and feel of a movie is all that matters to you, this is ffor you.
Rating: 10

Step 2 to making 'instant thriller': Feed your cast plenty of 'ludes.

Overall Rating: 80% (Could Use A Plot Upgrade, But Awesome Graphics)

Aftertaste: Never heard of this one. Saw it available on TMN On Demand and dove right in. I think I know why this didn't make it big. It was too specific, too obscure, and without any real plot to drive it. Sometimes it's great to 'get it', but it still left me wanting, like Broken Flowers did. I liked what they did with what they had. I just wish they'd had a little more. After all is said and done, it's nice to have films that are two steps outside of the Five Act Plot box. Very hard one to recommend, but glad I saw it.