Somewhere in the middle of films like Memento and Mulholland Drive I think directors may have gotten the wrong idea. This idea seems to be that purposeful misdirection, quick camera angles, and revealing nothing about the plot is the way for a dynamic film to go, but for 90 percent of the films made in this manner it’s not. It doesn’t add up to greatness or entertainment. It adds up to a mess.
The positive thing I usually like to take away from even terrible movies is the concept. Even in cases where the acting is crap, or the flick drags there is usually some hint of a better movie in there. That’s not the case here. There’s not a hint of something better. There’s not a hint of anything actually. It’s a bit like wandering around in the dark, fumbling for a light switch and then feeling something slimy. It’s unpleasant and you don’t know what the hell to make of it.
So what’s the attempted theme? Let’s start there and find the marrow in this puppy. It’s about a guy who gets shot in a convenience store during a robbery while his wife is waiting in the car. And she’s having an affair. So she’s guilty after his death. Or it’s about both of them dying in that same accident. Possibly it’s about her saving him. It might be about her calling him during the incident and actually causing the lethal bullet. Alternatively, it could be about her not getting shot, about no one getting shot, but she’s really traumatized. The guy she’s having an affair with might have been there. There might be a cop and some incriminating photos. And Courteney Cox is in the movie and teaches photography!
Now, of those above statements only the one about Cox being in the movie and teaching is for certain. The rest is up for debate. The film uses three different lighting techniques to separate each “theory”, one dark, one sepia, one well lit. Also three sets of words break up each segment, all of them taken from the seven stages of grief. And the quote of the movie appears to be “what’s interesting in a picture is what you choose to leave out”.
The movie certainly takes this message to heart. Unfortunately the “movie” part of the movie is what’s left out. The director has chosen to exclude entertainment, logic, and flow. In its place he’s put a hard working Cox and some lighting tricks. Yikes. The two guys I’ve seen make perfect sense even when they aren’t making any sense are David Lynch and the writer Tom Robbins. Those two fellows have the ability to make things add up that shouldn’t, but this particular alchemy is rare and tough to pull off. It’s certainly not pulled off here, and watching the fool’s gold gets thrown on screen again and again gets old pretty quickly.