21/06/2010

EIFF: Day 2

Day 2 of my EIFF experience started so well. A Real Life (Au Voleur) began with a woman getting hit by a car and a man nearby runs to her rescue. Well, it seemed like that, what he actually did was steal her watch and go along his merry way. Despite not realising this she recognises his face when she spots him in a bar and starts an unlikely affair. This man (I cannot remember his name) has problems of his own; a fatherless young man next door wants his attention and he has an ex-con living with him. After nabbing the keys to a BMW and selling it on, it soon gets back to the police who are on his tale. Long story short, the couple go on the lam and whilst we were all expecting a cool, fugitive type film it just meandered like crazy in which we saw them on a boat for 20 damn minutes. A shame. 2/5

A lot of festival going for a press member is trying to sort out which films to see as everything inevitably clashes. I was due to see something else but was convinced to catch The Dry Land and since I'm easily swayed, I went along. The Dry Land is a totally gripping, immersive and affecting drama about a young man (Ryan O'Nan) who returns home from the Iraq war and goes on a mission to find out about a significant event that he can't remember that's slowly eating away at his mind. This is a story that has been done before but is brilliantly executed with great performances from newcomer O'Nan, America Fererra and Wilmer Valderrama. Yeah, the dude from That 70s Show who dated Lindsay Lohan before she went mental can actually act. Who knew? 4/5

Next up was Lucky, the new film from Jeffrey Blitz (the Oscar winning director of the amazing Spellbound) which focuses on American obsession with playing the lottery and the how the lives of previous winners has changed. Some of the stories were upsetting and unbelievable. One woman pays $100 a week to play several lottery games whilst another woman told of her extreme jealousy at the fact that she had nothing to talk about with her now super rich friend. It brought up the interesting point of whether we'd like the money if it causes such a change. The film was entertaining and had some interesting facts about the lottery interspersed that didn't upset the flow of the film. 4/5

My last film of the day was the new flick from Paul Andrew Williams, Cherry Tree Lane. This was interesting as when I walked out I had no idea how I really felt about it. It gripped me throughout and had me wincing, gasping and generally getting involved but there was nothing really original about it. Basically, a bored suburban couple has three thugs burst in and hold them hostage until their son returns. My major problem with the film is that the thugs in question perpetuate the now normal stereotype of young, inner city boys who most of the time are black and finish their sentence with 'blud'. They seem to have replaced the foreign, cartoonish villian and I think The Daily Mail will have quite a lot to say about this. It ends suddenly and effectively and I couldn't help that notice that most people who exited the screening said they didn't like it. It is a bit of a fuck you from Williams in the same way Haneke did with Funny Games. This is not a fun film but for all that it's worth, it stood out amongst most other films shown. I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else has to say about it. 3/5

Coming Tomorrow - The Runaways & Countdown to Zero.