In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_otcv3wwkz0vjyicozgz2ahej5uv

John Wick

The film breathes exhilarating life into its tired premise, thanks to some dazzling action choreography, stylish visuals and–most importantly–a vintage anti-hero performance from Keanu Reeves.

Thumb_j0gvkbn0bjd9wfkn6jxr1kbyu5

Low Down

Preiss' movie does a consistently excellent job of explaining the lure of jazz, and the psychology of addicts, their enablers and their children, without explaining…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Life Itself Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

TIFF: Suicide isn't painless

237b.jpg

"2:37"

Born out of a suicide (a friend of the filmmaker's) and an attempted suicide (the filmmaker's own), "2:37" is a movie 20-year-old Australian Murali K. Thalluri never intended to write or direct. It just came out that way.

"2:37" is a suicide whodunnit. In the course of one day at school, multiple character perspectives, and a maze of Steadicam shots that virtually trace those in Gus Van Sant's "Elephant," we catch glimpses from the lives of several kids, any one of whom could turn out to the one in a puddle of blood on a restroom floor at 2:37 in the afternoon. (I wonder if the title isn't also a reference to Kubrick's Room 237 in "The Shining," another film drawn with a Steadicam.)

Though they appear to attend a big school, each of these kids feels utterly -- at times disconsolately -- alone. Even when they're surrounded by friends, the bonhomie is forced, superficial. Hey, it's high school. (As a friend said after the screening: "I guess it just shows that Australian high school is as f---ed up as American high school.") Emotions -- big emotions -- pass through like storms on any spring day. And that's part of what Thalluri is getting at: There's a whole catalog of After School Special subjects here (sex, drugs, other physiological and psychological problems) but any one of them, even the most trivial, could be the trigger for a suicide attempt.

The film flows naturally around its central contrivance, employing unforced performances by unprofessional actors and a visual style that uses available light to pull you into the worlds these students inhabit. The black-and-white reality-show style interviews with the kids are unnecessary, and the movie will no doubt be be met with charges of "derivative!" when compared unfavorably to Van Sant's masterpiece. But, even if I hadn't read the press notes (after the screening), I'd still admire the authenticity and unerring behavioral observations of "2:37."

(Side note: "2:37" was a 2006 Cannes Film Festival selection; "Elephant" won the Palme d'Or and the Prix de la mise en scène in 2003.)

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

"1941": An Appreciation and Interview with Bob Gale

An appreciation of "1941" and interview with Bob Gale.

A free man: L.M. "Kit" Carson, 1941-2014

An appreciation of filmmaker, writer and actor L.M. "Kit" Carson, a singular talent.

NYFF 2014: Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Inherent Vice”

A review of Paul Thomas Anderson's "Inherent Vice" from the 2014 New York Film Festival.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus