Better The Devil You Know, or Not –
Director James Oakley and writer Alex Michaelides had previously worked together on a short film, Alice, in 2005. A year later they concocted this strange movie with the only fortunate thing in the whole of it, was to cast an unknown, 15 year old Jennifer Lawrence, and low and behold, a ready made audience who cant get enough of the beautiful Hunger Games star. I admittedly knew little of this film and now after sitting through the entire 70 minutes (which felt like 170) of this ill conceived abstract affair, I now know, and understand why they waited seven years for it to see the light of day. It boasts some good actors who performed admirably considering the dull cliched writing, but to watch the sexy Rosamund Pike and the still lovely Lena Olin change outfits every chance they get, with a nice soft filter, isn’t my idea of entertainment. Usually directors who are sick of doing mainstream film, end up producing pretentious, self indulgent affairs, but this movie proves that theory wrong, and Mr Oakley demonstrates that even rookies can make an attempt. Unfortunately the director has nothing to back it up with and is left with rather a mess, filled with close ups of legs and wardrobe changes.
Kathryn Vale (Lena Olin) is an ex-movie star with her daughter Zoe Hughes (Pike) trying to break into the business. She feels her mother is always stealing the limelight, so when she finds out her mother has come out of retirement and signed a new movie deal, she’s less than happy. Kathryn has a personal assistant Edie (Molly Price) who always seems to be eves dropping and is also outspoken with the actress. Kathryn is married to Jake (Dean Winters), who is having an affair with Zoe. An anonymous blackmailer starts sending letters, calling Kathryn a murderer but she doesn’t want to go to the police so decides to deal with it herself, but she doesn’t know who to trust, if anyone.
There were too many things in this movie I simply couldn’t enjoy, like the different camera styles which seemed wrong for some of the shots, but strangely started off very good, like the opening scene for example, but those nice long tracking shots were few and far between, giving a feeling of inconsistency as opposed to experimentation. Then we had the rather pathetic attempts at red herrings. (I’ll not expand for fear of spoilers). Jake (Winters) was vital to the story yet felt like a fifth wheel, and never appeared comfortable in any of the shots. The whole film was like an attempt at style but instead looked like a fashion shoot with some drama tossed in for good measure. Not one of the best films I’ve had to force myself to watch, even if I did finally get to glimpse the gorgeous Jennifer Lawrence after 50 boring minutes, and for three microscopic scenes. Rosamund Pike was certainly pleasing enough to watch but not under these circumstances. A shame really.
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