Saturday, 5 June 2010
Believe it or not she's eyefucking Streets of Rage 2. Seriously. Playing some Sega.
I find it a certain kind of awesome that Noel Clarke somehow transformed himself from Billie Piper's wimpy boyfriend on Doctor Who into one of the most commercially and widely critically successful British independent film-makers on the circuit today. I wouldn't say I'm a huge fan of his work, but there's an energy and confidence in his films that's pleasing to see. With 18.104.22.168 however, Clarke tries to test his film-making prowess in new waters, and while the swagger might still be there, what is not is the indication that Clarke is a film-maker worth paying attention to long term. It's not bad, but is stuck in a maelstrom of mediocre and saunters toward boring way too often.
Clarke clearly aspires to Tarantino/Guy Ritchie films of yesteryear, with his non-linear, multi-strand criminal odyssey. But some people do that better then others, and too many of his stories and characters are just flat-out dull and you'll find yourself thinking 'Yeah..and?' way to often. The main problem perhaps is that Clarke went all Death Proof with is casting choices, picking his four leading ladies with a firm hotness before acting ability policy and while this is fine and great when he's subjecting them to long sequences of ogling - I believe two out of the fours girls spent at least twenty minutes of their narrative in their underwear - but when it comes time to make us care about these characters and their situations, well its just no dice I'm afraid. One could make the argument that Shanika Warren-Markland brought an entertaining if entirely one-note sass and Emma Roberts does her best Katherine Heigl impression, But the other two are just washouts. It says something to the acting in a movie when the best performance is a 5 minute cameo from Kevin Smith. And that's the Kevin Smith of Cop Out fame people. Dude is a deceptively good actor. Otherwise its all just too stupid and too crass and not exciting enough to justify either.
I would imagine Clarke will retreat back into familiar territory with his next film, but I guess I appreciate the swing, even if it was a miss. He did go for something here and at times the visual style of the movie is bracing, but the whole thing is way too vapid to be credible in any way but empty fun, and at a full two hour running time, its almost too self important to see it that way. Oh well.