Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Atrocity Exhibition - JG Ballard Commentary Track

I reviewed the film of The Atrocity Exhibition a while back. It’s a head kick film that is, to the best of my knowledge only available here in an import DVD. I really like the film a great deal and in the months since I’ve seen it where other films I saw more recently have faded.

For my money the clincher about why you should track this film down is one vitally important extra that’s on the DVD, namely a commentary track involving the director Jonathan Weiss and JG Ballard. Actually the notion of it being a commentary track is a major misnomer since other than two times they make no reference to what is happening in the film as they speak (once is when they refer to the view of a junk yard outside of an expensive house complex and the other is a discussion of the dead bodies we see being used in crash tests)

What transpires during the 105 minutes that they talk is eye opening discussion of filmmaking, adaption of books into other medium, Ballard’s work (including Croneberg’s Crash), reality and perception and enough food for thought that the first time I listened to the track I kept playing things over to fully catch what they were saying. The reason for this was that I foolishly was watching the film while listening to the commentary, I really should have just put it on and ignored the visuals, which is what I did the second time.

I’m kind of torn as to which I like more the commentary or the film. As much as it pains me I’m probably leaning toward the commentary because it never lets up, while the film kind of shifts in the last little bit.

Regardless of which is better, you really should make the effort to see the film and then listen to the commentary because both will blow your mind.

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