Monday, March 15, 2010

CONTACT: A JEREMIAH KIPP FILM

With all this talk on DotW about indie filmmakers, I felt it would be only fair that I posted a review of an indie film. I was contacted by the filmmaker Jeremiah Kipp a month or so ago about reviewing his short film Contact. In all honesty, I've been massively swamped with bigger projects and personal issues, and this sort of slipped under my radar. When I first watched the film a few months ago, I'll be truthful...I really didn't like it. It was in black and white, there were naked people, drugs were involved, and there is almost no dialogue. If that doesn't sound like every parody of "I did some films in college once", then I don't know what is. So I sort of pushed it to the back burner.

It was only recently that the boyfriend and I re-visited this literal trip and actually gave it the time of day. Now, I made the boyfriend watch this with me because he is a filmmaker and I really wanted his input on such an artistic short. He and I actually collaborated on this review :) SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!

Contact is filmed in an almost dream-like state. After purchasing drugs from a guy with the same hair as Johnny Depp in Crybaby, Koreen finds herself on one bad trip. Now, I've seen people freak out with invisible spiders crawling over them, but what happens on her trip is something Alice never could have dreamed of in wonderland. It has impeccable pacing, interesting angles, and the lack of dialogue set the viewer in a world as surreal as our players. As far as direction and cinematography are concerned, Sarah Jahier of Fatally-Yours said it best. "Kipp creates a claustrophobic, paranoid atmosphere of confusion and vulnerability." The film is meant to make the viewer feel uncomfortable and Kipp definitely achieves his mission. I felt bothered watching this poor girl fall apart and felt even worse for her family who find a way to make setting a table creepy.

One of the bigger problems I had with it was the beginning (now there isn't much I can say that won't spoil at least a little bit of it, so be warned). When choosing to begin a movie with the ending, there can be several reasons to do so. It could be to cause curiosity, or confusion. But when this film did it, I didn’t feel like it was justified. I was confused, yes. But once everything tied together my reaction was less “Oh, wow!” and more “Oh. Okay then”. It didn’t help enthrall me in the story anymore than it would have had they began it with the scene that follows after, and the plot point we come to realize was revealed with the scene could have been presented in a better way, which incidentally was already present in the short.

The acting, for the most part, was okay. With a mostly silent film like this, it relies a lot on reactions and I felt the cast did a fine job as far as that goes. My biggest grudge, however, comes from the drug freak-out scene. With a scene like that, Koreen should portray terror, confusion, and should be on edge and out of her mind. Instead it came off more like she was a child who was afraid of the dark. Which, truth be told, is an interesting choice. But for a story like this, I can’t quite say I would have made the same one. Because of this, the full effect that scene could have on a viewer is dulled.

All and all, this was a solid short. Billy and I made the criticisms we did because quite frankly, no one else has given it any negative feedback. The film is solid, but it isn't perfect; no film is perfect. I am excited to see what Jeremiah Kipp has up his sleeve for his later projects, and can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

1 comment(s):

James R said...

You were complaining about the film having naked people?

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