Saturday, March 1, 2014

In short: Open Grave (2013)

This one is not treated to a full, detailed write-up with one or two mad theories about subtext (and stuff) of my own thrown in only because I don't want to risk spoiling the rather deliciously confusing/confused first thirty minutes that do that loathsome and tired "people without a memory meet at some place or other" shtick so good I quit complaining about it after about ten seconds for anyone. It's not so much about protecting the film's plot twist, for the audience will realize much earlier than the characters at least the shape of what's truly going on (well, at least a genre movie savvy audience will do), and the film seems to know and accept that. Rather, I don't want to spoil the shape in which the story develops which does make it impossible to discuss some rather interesting details.

Fortunately, there are no spoilers in suggesting that Open Grave features an excellent acting ensemble in the form of Sharlto Copley, Erin Richards, Josie Ho, Thomas Kretschmann - who seems to attempt to be in every movie right now like some kind of Udo Kier return’d –, Joseph Morgan and Max Wrottesley, that as an ensemble proves itself to be really great at doing the unsubtle stuff parts of the film ask for as well as things like subtly suggesting the way their characters remember parts of their relationships not as the visual way film by necessity understands memories, but like muscle memory and the faint echoes of things.

It's also not a spoiler, though will certainly come as a surprise to some, that director Gonzalo López-Gallego (him of the much hated Apollo 18 which I'm going to seek out post haste) turns out to be rather great at everything he attempts here, too. López-Gallego demonstrates a deft sense of pacing that pastes over all of the script's minor problems (like the lack of charade abilities for a certain character). He also understands how to build up a scene's nightmarish qualities without seeming to be trying too hard, among many other things great and small. The director also does the unthinkable and actually uses colour(s) in thematically appropriate ways. Why there's even daylight that looks like a more intense version of actual daylight (all the better for things in it to turn not quite so pleasant)!

So yeah, it's all good here. Really.

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