Sundance Film Festival Round-up #1

Blue Caprice

Following in the footsteps of last years controversial Compliance, Blue Caprice also dramatizes a horrifying event in recent American crime history. This time around the focus is on the lives of the perpetrators of the 2007 sniper shootings that terrorized Washington DC. It is an unsettling and dark film that unfortunately looses some of its steam in its underdeveloped jumbled second act. The filmmaking is visually haunting and the performances are fantastic, but the film as a whole suffers from a sub-par screenplay. It aims to be devastating, but never quite reaches that difficult goal. Still Blue Caprice is an interesting and convicting look at a society that endorses violence only to be horrified when it directly affects them.

Running from Crazy

It feels bad to criticize a film that comes from such a good place and seemed to have such a healing affect on those involved in the making of it, but the documentary Running From Crazy is a missed opportunity. The subject matter of the Hemingway family is an endlessly fascinating one. Perhaps that is the problem. Running From Crazy is at times a biopic of Mariel Hemmingway, a broad history of the dysfunctional Hemingway family, and a film about suicide prevention. Therefore it never manages to go below the surface on a lot of issues. It is a bit of a jumbled mess that is alternately moving and frustrating.

Upstream Color

One of the most unique movie going experiences I’ve had in quite some time. I knew very little about Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color going in and I still was unsure about the plot once the credits rolled. A revisionist science fiction tale that takes a somewhat standard sci-fi plot, but tells it through visual poetry opposed to expositional dialogue. Fantastic editing pared with spot on sound design creates montages of stunning images that glue the viewer’s eyes to the screen. Carruth attempts to portray and articulate how much ones identity is actually formed not by nature, but by society. He asks the universally relevant question: how much of who we think we are as individuals is actually constructed by the society and culture we live in? Guaranteed to be divisive and discussed among both indie and sci-fi fans for a long time after its release Upstream Color is a chaotic, puzzling, and hypnotic film.

~Andy Motz

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