Thursday, August 2, 2012

Movie of the Month - August - Earrings

By Sati. Thursday, August 2, 2012 , , ,
Alex Withrow who runs one of my favorite - if not my favorite blog - And so it Begins - recently released his debut short film entitled Earrings. Because it's really good and I want as many people as possible to see it it's the movie of the month for August on my blog. Here is my review for the film:

75/100 (2012, 31 min)
Plot: A young woman dives into increasingly destructive behavior after witnessing a traumatic event.
Director: Alex Withrow
Writer: Alex Withrow
Stars: Catherine Warner, Martin McSweeney and Andrew Kirkley

Earrings is directorial debut from Alex Withrow, very good writer and passionate movie fan. You can see many influences here, in his haunting short film, but one that particularly stands out is the influence by Steve McQueen's Shame - we observe a character having a breakdown, the reasons for which are for most part unknown to us. We see their daily routine, we see the camera follow them and ultimately we see them being consumed by despair.And we want to know - why? What could have possibly happened to make them live - or either stay alive without the desire to live - like this?

The style of the film while it is an asset when it comes to keeping the mystery also proves to be a problem at times - there is very little dialogue in the movie so we don't really know much, also one of the best way to know the character is by seeing how she/he interacts with others. There is only one conversation in this movie and while the dialogue was good the acting, especially by Martin McSweeney, didn't convince me at all. In the effect, the scene that is somewhat a centerpiece and the deepest you will see into this woman character through someone else's eyes fails.By contrast in Shame we could witness an actual relationship between two people, here we simply witness young woman being depressed, walking around, drinking, doing drugs.
That said, the young woman in question is beautifully played by Catherine Warner who is fantastic on screen - both in the moments when we see her character being severely disconnected from everything around her and in the scenes where she breaks down, crying, screaming, hurting herself. We don't know much about her but because of the depths of suffering we witness we feel for this girl, who appears to be consumed by overwhelming sense of pain.

The structure the movie has is very interesting - it's uncompromising in showing as the girl's actions, there are no cuts when the cliche would be to use them (that fails only in numerous scenes where she is brushing her teeth which I thought brought nothing to the film and was needlessly long) and the reason for that woman's suffering is something that keeps us guessing. The ending is quite charming, though I thought it would be much better if we never saw the person she sees and just saw the smile on her face.
The true accomplishment here is cinematography  it is truly something that makes it worth seeing. The camera work is very impressive and doesn't seem to be amateurish at all, we always follow this woman, we get to see close ups on her face and many memorable shots. She is always splendidly positioned in the frame, which adds interesting beauty to the film. The editing is also fantastic, particularly in the film's best moment which features the best use of Radiohead's finest song How to Disappear Completely I've seen in a movie.

Earrings has flaws but its admirable effort and I'll definitely see it again just to marvel at its beauty. I'll be very interested to see what Alex Withrow's future projects will be.

You can watch the film HERE.


Previous movies of the month:

 

20 comments:

  1. I hope to see this movie tonight. I've been hearing all kinds of rave reviews on this, way to go Alex!! As always, the graphics for your Movie of the Month is just amazing, Sati, you rock girl!!

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    1. Thank you so much! Let us know what you thought of the movie, it's really great and i can't wait to see what Ales does next.

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  2. This is a very well crafted and balanced review. I definitely agree with some of your points, particularly about the excellent cinematography being the facet of the movie that stands out the most.

    An unrelated question: How do you get the screenshots? I've always wondered how people do that. :)

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    1. Thanks! The cinematography was incredibly impressive, I could never do something like this.

      The screenshots from this post - when i was watching the film I just pressed Print screen button and then pasted it in my photo editor and cut the portion of the image with actual screencap. When I'm taking it from DVDs I use VLC player and it has option to take screenshots built in the menu.

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  3. Definitely a great short. I mentioned it in my monthly mini-reviews for last month. Alex rocks!

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  4. Yah, I loved this one too. I'm so proud of what Alex achieved here. The cinematography was definitely my favourite part of it - I think my favourite shot was when Chlo was at the bar with that man...it was so simple and effective. I could definitely see the influence of Shame on it. Which was awesome!

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    1. That shot was incredible, it was amazing that in few seconds he totally managed to get the atmosphere of the crowded bar and her loneliness in all of it.

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  5. Great write-up! I liked Alex's film more than you did, but I can see where you're coming from. Catherine Warner is wonderful, and the cinematography is, indeed, gorgeous.

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    1. Thank you! Yep, read your review the other day awesome you liked it so much!

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  6. Wow, Sati. This is overwhelming. First, let me thank you for calling me one of your favorite bloggers. Considering that I hold cinematic corner in such high regard, that compliment means a great deal.

    Now, obviously, I love the look and feel of this blog. I love the way you manipulate and repurpose stills from a film, so to see that first graphic here just blew me right the hell away. It looks awesome.

    I understand where you're coming from with all of the qualms you have with the flick. You've written a very fair, balanced review here, for which I am especially grateful.

    I'm really glad you liked the look of the movie. I knew what I wanted to say with the visuals, and I honestly had no idea if people would like it. Your praise for it is unspeakable rewarding. That, along with your (many) compliments toward the How To Disappear Completely sequence, have helped make this week one of the best of my life.

    Thank you, I really do mean that. And to everyone else who has commented here, thanks so much for your support and kind words. They mean more than you know.

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    1. You're welcome, I mean honestly it's a sheer pleasure to read your articles and you have so many inspiring ideas!

      Thanks, it took me some time to decide which screencap from the movie to use, but I really loved all those shots of her walking on the meadow so I went with this one.

      I'm so happy you got such good response from people, you and the movie totally deserve it. It is truly mesmerizing to me that someone who didn't do many films managed to create such well made film, it really looks very professional and the camera work and style go with the story very well!

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  7. That's nice of you to review Earrings, and name it your movie of the month. I love that you created screenshots, and I agree with your rating, I also gave it 7.5.

    Admire that you are somewhat critical here. I'm sure he can use the reviews moving forward, Alex needs to read this pronto...

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    1. Yep, it wouldn't be a post on here without screenshots :)

      I hope so, with just a bit of this and that he is really on his way to make truly outstanding films.

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  8. Awesome! So cool to see a review of Earrings. I really dug Alex's film as well, and I think he has a bright future ahead of him.

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    1. Absolutely, I hope he makes another film soon.

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  9. Great review Sati and I agree with most of the things you said! The cinematography is definitely a standout and Catherine did a great job!It's nice to see you made it your Movie of the the month :)

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    1. Thanks! The least I could do, I hope more people will see this one.

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