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7.15.2007

CLEAN, SHAVEN

Clean, Shaven
Directed and Written by Lodge H. Kerrigan








There's the dissonant rhythm of his cutting, fracturing more than cohering, and the way his cropping a frame so severely makes them like bits of jigsaw and you have to lean in
- - -Kerrigan's playing you, like Hitchcock before him, only with little trace of Hitchcockian cheek. He wants us to actively believe Peter Greene is going to visit the same bad things on the estranged daughter he's tracking down as he did that trail of dead kids and we do. His is a syntax of confusion, baiting our preconceived notions of schizophrenics, and of schizophrenic thrillers, then dismantling them by letting us into the head of one, letting us hear the voices he hears, and taking the stylistic twitches to empathic multitask when the din of ghost chatter makes sense of the impulse to burrow into your own skull with a pair of scissors just to shut them the fuck up.
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7.02.2007

LES ARMEE DES OMBRES (ARMY OF SHADOWS)

Les Armee des Ombres(Army of Shadows) (1969)
Directed and Written by Jean Pierre Melville
From the Novel by Joseph Kessel






His resistance fighters have the swagger of thugs because, well, they are thugs, with the same fatal delusion, the same purity of purpose- - - amounts to the same thing, really. Obvious from how the genre shift is more apparent chronologically but not emotionally, Melville's time in the resistance gave his gangster inversions its contours and while none of us are obliged to look at them in this new metaphorical light, it does oblige us to recognize that what we have here is that same world of clandestine duplicity and shadowy code and misplaced honor we've come to expect from him, except maybe for the diminished rogue glamour. That tends to amp up futilities ,though, and amps up claustrophobic overbear even more . . . in the ugly and messy languor of executing a traitor without a bullet , in that dirty hand clasping its rescuer's in relief evoking the desperate isolation of fighting for a cause, and in how every spasm of derring-do - - -an escape sequence that happens in a tic of brutality, another that happens in the thick of smoke- - -is upset eventually by painstaking failure. Wonderful and depressing and rubbed raw until you have nothing but the violent gleam of bone. 

7.01.2007

BUG

Bug (2007)
Directed by William Friedkin
Written by Tracy Letts
Based on his Play






Aphids and spots of bother and glitches in the system and malicious surveillance - - - a bug is all that and is all that here. Zero in on mood and claim the Burroughsian for when the four walls of what's real start to curdle into paranoid soup. Claim surprise,too, at how Friedkin's grip on matters is in-depth enough to make writing him off after years and years of awful and indifferent cinema feel like a gross jumping to conclusions. Dick helps decode this for me - - - reality is something you create more rapidly than it creates you. What grounds the hysteric patina is Ashley Judd's white trash burnout desperate for emotional cling. The deadened hum of her deadend life so sticky with anxiety and hurt and bad love, you root for her taking up with Michael Shannon's twitchy stranger and for how their conspirational, consensual apparitions of weird science, insect kingdoms and black helicopters feels less like the shrapnel of breakdown and more like the out they desire and deserve.