Thursday, October 25, 2012

In short: Entrance (2012)

The film follows the eventless life of a disillusioned Los Angeles working poor (Suziey Block). Escalating events that should be disquieting occur at the periphery of her rather empty life, but they are drowned out by the quotidian until it is much too late for her.

What begins as a mumblecore-y, mostly improvised film shot hand-held and very digitally concerning the special kind of boredom of a very particular type of urban poor in Los Angeles slowly - some might argue too slowly - turns into quite a disturbing piece of horror.

How much a given viewer will enjoy the experience of watching Entrance will probably depend on his or her patience for scenes that are constructed to make the audience feel the central character's (excellently played) disillusionment and boredom with her life, possibly even life at large (this is not the sort of film where characters do much verbal self-analysis); in other words, large parts of Entrance are out to actively bore the audience. As consequently as it is done here, even early disturbances of our protagonist's routine are made to feel quite boring when we should by all rights find them threatening.

Boring one's audience on purpose is a difficult technique, and directors Dallas Richard Hallam and Patrick Horvath are not quite perfect at it. There were moments in the proceedings when I doubted the pay off to be worth the pain, and nearly didn't persevere, but after a scene of pointless tedium usually followed one of pointed tedium, so I did. The slow and boring parts lead into a very tightly done and pretty disturbing climax that would not have worked quite as well without what came before. However, one really needs a lot of patience and some tolerance for some of the particular tics of US non-horror indie filmmaking of the last few years to get something out of Entrance. The jittery camera, the mumbled dialogue, and the willingness to bore work out more than fine in the end, but they aren't exactly aesthetic markers to fall in love with.

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