Four Stars – Why Not Five?

Four Stars

Write a review of your life — or the life of someone close to you — as if it were a movie or a book.

1954, 1974, 1990, 2014. 2018?

I’d decided in advance not to write anything today, the reason being that I spent a few hours last night staring at what I’ve got so far for my latest Hansi adventure. The first five pages came so easily, and now I’m stuck, over just one line of dialogue. I stayed up too late and spent too much time on it. In the process I learnt the answer to the question, how do you know you need to take a break. The answer being when you’ve inverted the letters in several words, and haven’t realised till the ninth time you did it.

But then this afternoon I saw this prompt and how could I resist a prompt entitled four stars? I knew before clicking on it that it would have nothing to do with what four stars mean to me, regardless I had to see. And I’m glad I did, what a fascinating idea and one that combines two of my special interests.

I wish I could say my life was like that of Inglourious Basterds, or The Lives of Others. That is a tightly scripted, intelligently written and thought provoking masterpiece. The both of them not having a single wasted word or scene between them. And in the case of the former, dialogue that is simply out of this world.

But I digress, where were we, ah yes, writing a review (I can’t not mention Tarantino without borrowing or adapting one of his lines).

I like reviews that start out with a kind of mini essay on the genre that the film belongs to, that provides some context and background, like Phillip French’s reviews. I’m not going to do that, I could but it would turn into a rant about everything I hate about autism films, so I’ll just jump right into my main point which is much more my style when writing reviews anyhow.

To put it bluntly, an incoherent mess with seemingly no discernible narrative structure, at least none that is comprehensible to the average viewer. Overly complicated, jam packed full of references which serve no real purpose or add nothing to the film. In fact said references seem to be there for purely the writer’s amusement, one can almost picture them trying to work out how to fit in as many of them as possible without giving any thought as to whether or not their audience will share their amusement or even understand them.

It jumps from topic to topic, throwing information at you without giving you a chance to process any of it. And just when you have began to process it, it jumps once more to another topic. The viewer has plenty of facts thrown at them, yet somehow the film manages to avoid covering any one topic in any depth. As a result you’re left with mere fragments, you get bits of the story from each narrative strand but never the whole picture.

There’s too much going on, the film never gives you a chance to catch up, never takes the time to explain anything to you and the dialogue is as impenetrable as the overall story. It’s not in Klingon, but it may as well be. In a baffling decision, the non English parts of the film are not provided with subtitles, though one gets the sense that even if they were, it make no difference, you still wouldn’t know what was going on.

If you want to be fascinated a little and don’t mind being frustrated a lot, then I can heartily recommend it. If patience isn’t your thing and you like your films simple and uncomplicated, then stay well away. Equally if you like those kinds of “special” TV movies where the disabled character is inspiring and helps other people to learn something about life, whilst never addressing the real issues then you won’t like this one. If you’re a fan of Dario Argento however, then step right up.

4 responses to “Four Stars – Why Not Five?

  1. Pingback: Books, Ireland and a few blanks | Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Only for you | Naveen writes

  3. Pingback: To The People I Met in College | It's Mayur Remember?

  4. Pingback: Books, Ireland and a few blanks | Kick-Ass Ireland!

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