Sunday, 6 December 2009
Shameless nepotism has served Hollywood quite well of late. Both Sofia Coppola and Jason Reitman got the breaks because of the family name, and have gone on to make some great movies in their own right. Family privilege is a beautiful thing apparently. The latest hoping to continue this trend is Jordan Scott, daughter of Ridley, who served up this peculiar little indie. She's far from being in the grand league of hollywood children just yet, but there's promise here. Ms Scott has a distinct, or disintictish visual style, and tells her story relatively confidently. There are kinks here and there, but there's more good then bad, if not by much.
The story, which follows the exploits of a girls boarding school deep in the isolated British countryside, as a new foreign girl shatters the private disillusioned eco-system that the rest of the girls, and their seemingly perfect teacher Eva Green have established. Eva Green clearly has a lot of fun in this role, relishing every second she has as the increasingly unhinged teacher. Green is an actress that I have a lot of good things to say about, and she holds the prestigious title of being the only Bond Girl in history to actually steal the movie with her acting rather then just her beauty. And she is very good here, although I have to say its not her best performance, but its a very intruiging one and more evidence that she deserves a bigger career then she has. But she plays a supporting role in the piece really, with most of the action centred around the tussling between former clique queen bee Juno Temple and Spanish upstart Maria Valverde. Both give good performances, although Temple goes a bit heavy on the hard-nosed public school-gril thing at times. The movie in that sense, is a more ethereal and much darker version of Mean Girls, only with an ever increasing blackness in place of humor, and Scott conveys this tone very well, as things escalate toward the worse for our characters. she also uses her country-side setting very well, finding a lot of beauty in the green and the water, with the diving sequences being particularly graceful. But the film can be stately at times and also directionless, and given that its isn't Green's story, her character is perhaps more of a closed book then was in the movie's best interests.
But its a British film with style, atmosphere and good performances. In the grand period tradition we seem to have here. Nobody does these films better then we do, but at the same time I think we're due another great contemporary British film. Anyway, this is tangenting. An interesting film, with a director with enough talent to pay attention to in the future, but the film itself is not an outstanding one, which according to its indie nature means it will be well reviewed in the guardian and consequently seen by no-one.