REVIEW: Bellflower

11 10 2012

Independent film allows for new filmmakers to arrive with a bang.  With “Bellflower,” the debut of Evan Glodell, there really existed the opportunity to have that bang given all the flashy pyrotechnics his film had to offer.  Yet in spite of all the noise, the movie heralds the arrival of a new voice … and it arrives with a thud.

The movie proves that it’s going to take a long time for a mumblecore action movie to work.  The new film movement, one that glorifies the DIY, cinema verite styles that have propelled a generation of attention-craving opportunists with cameras to fame via YouTube, is still in its infancy.  It doesn’t know what it is.  It doesn’t know what it can be.

But you know what, good for Glodell for taking the risk.  But for the sake of my eyes and ears, he was the wrong person to take it.  If anyone is going to combine one of the least mainstream movements in film with the most formulaic, adrenaline-pumped genre today, let it be the Duplass brothers.  With “Cyrus,” they proved that their style of comedy can be a modern, stammering, meandering answer to the über-literate that dominate the substantive ranks of the genre (I’m talking Woody Allen, Alexander Payne, and company.)

Glodell and pals can’t even figure out how to reproduce even the slightest authenticity in human conversation.  Every interaction between characters always ends with a shouting match of who can scream the F-bomb the loudest.  If you’ve lived a second in the real world, you know that’s just not how it goes.

I could care less about whatever the characters had to say, so naturally I couldn’t be bothered to care about what they do.  Their dialogue doesn’t articulate what they want, and the actors don’t bring any revelations to light.  And if it’s all just about style, about cool shots and explosions, then the mumblecore movement may have just found its answer to Michael Bay.  I don’t care if he’s on the totally opposite side of the spectrum; anyone that crazy needs to be kept far away from a camera.  D

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