Saturday, February 25, 2012
Searching for a word to describe the movie Safe House is one of those tasks that has me questioning my own skills as a film critic. The only equivalent to this task that I can think of relates back to the moment in Return of the Jedi where Chewbacca discovers a conveniently placed carcass of a giant animal only to find out that it is an obvious trap. To call Safe House a "safe" film seems almost too easy, if not incredibly lazy, but despite the almost obvious trap it is exactly the phrase that keeps coming to mind. So for the sake of forgoing any credibility at the expense of an easy tag line, here goes nothing.
Safe House is a safe choice at the cinema; nothing more, nothing less.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
The biggest challenge facing filmmakers who are trying to tell a story in this manner is how to justify why a character in the film would be documenting the events of the film. The Blair Witch Project managed to avoid this by quite cleverly presenting itself as a documentary film, which many audiences at the time believed to be real; a storytelling device that has been replicated by a number of other films in this genre (Paranormal Activity, Troll Hunter).
With Cloverfield the found-footage genre of filmmaking had moved from horror films into action/adventure storytelling and found a way to justify itself by providing an event so monumental, the destruction of New York City, that it would obviously have to be filmed. The new film Chronicle, by Josh Trank, tells a much more intimate story that combines the found-footage genre with the superhero genre and in the process attempts to widen the scope of the kind of stories that can be told this way.