Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Rambling thoughts on 39 (2016)
Written and directed by Josh Evans who plays Adam, 39 is a film that left me pondering unsure of what I'm supposed to think. I think it's supposed to be some revelation about turning 40 except that the lead character is kind of a dick and he's the sort of a guy who you don't want to relate to. Why would anyone want to spend any time with this guy? Then again people are drawn to self centered narcissists.
What confused me about the film is that the film plays out as if it were someone's life (that's a compliment) that they shot on their cellphone and then edited together randomly (that's not a compliment). The performances and the sense of being in real places are extraordinary (another compliment) but the assemblage is so jumbled that nothing feels like fully formed scenes or as if we really are peaking in on more than random moments. There simply isn't enough here in the films 75 or so minutes to actually amount to much.
To be honest watching the film I got the sense of a larger better film sitting on someones laptop somewhere. As it is now its a series of scenes we com into in the middle of cut together in such away as to give a great sense of place but no sense of drama. Music washes out dialog, dialog and situations begin in the middle, we get voice overs and scenes are returned to. It might have worked had we connected to something out of the gate but that never happens, we're simply dropped into a discussion where we are much tto close to anyone to know who or what we are really looking at. It plays like a home movie, and while that does gives us a great sense of place it comes off as half assed because it often looks like a home movie.
I really hate beating up on the film because the performances are real and raw and could be seen as not acting (in a good way). Additionally the look of the film and the sequences devoid of any connection to the plot line is wonderful. I'd love to see a film noir shot by the crew members responsible. However it choices were made in editing and possibly shooting some of the sequences that the film is a real mess. Watching the film is like some one assembled an art show using the great masters of the world but included the work of some three year-olds as well.
One last question anyone have any idea why the promo material references Woody Allen and THIS IS 40? THIS IS 40 most of Woody Allen's films are funny and this film isn't. Could it be the darker more serious Woody Allen? I don't see it either because this film isn't bleak enough.
The film is out on VOD and DVD but I don't recommend it.