Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Suture (1993, USA)

A beautifully made film that should have been absolutely interesting but is instead highly aggravating. In their drive to make a filmmaker’s film, the two directors ended up making an annoying mishmash of great and terrible ideas that seldom work; a visual and stylish mistake that could support the thesis that it takes more than talent to make a good film.
Shot in B&W Panavision, directors Scott McGehee & David Siegel take full advantage of the breadth and scope of the film stock to create enthralling compositions, track shots, slow pans and eye-catching visuals. Regrettably, the story itself, already old when film was first invented, has the depth, development and suspense of a second-rate TV movie, and the banality of the lines is amplified by some of the worst acting caught on film since the days of bad European Art House Film Acting ala Sam Neil and Isabella Adjiani in the entertainingly disgusting “serious” flick Possession (1981). Actually, one is never sure if the actors are really all just bad in Suture or if they were directed to “act” as if they are acting, but when considering some of the other “avant-garde” aspects that pop-up in Suture, one tends to put the blame on the directors. Probably the most ridiculous and jarring aspect of the film is the visual pun (and mistake) the directors make in terms of obviously playing with and referring to their use of black and white film. The two brothers, who are supposed to be identical, are played by an African American (i.e., black) and a Caucasian actor (i.e., white), who, naturally enough, don’t look a teeny-weenie diddle squat like each other. So, once again (yawn), the viewer is consistently reminded that, yes, they are watching a film—as if the illogical story, a mishmash of money, murder, amnesia, Freudian Hocus Pocus and identity didn’t make that obvious already.
The plot is mega-simple: rich and unscrupulous Vincent Towers, hounded by the police for the suspected murder of his dad, who he had indeed actually killed, uses the appearance of his long-lost brother Clay as a means of faking his own death via a car bomb. Clay survives the explosion but loses his memory, and the rest of the film has Clay, now believing he is Vincent, trying to rebuild his past, a past that actually was never his.... Of course, Vincent eventually shows up and BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
As with the acting, the story has such large flaws in it that one has to assume that they are on purpose to once again make the viewer realize that (yawn), yes, they are watching a film. Anyone out there ever hear of fingerprints? Excuse me, but if “Vincent” were “dead,” how would he ever expect to get to his money? And while Needles, Arizona is indeed Buttfuck, Egypt, could Clay/Vincent really walk around the town all day and not meet anyone at all who knew him back when he was simply Clay?
Like a cake that tastes bad because of too many good ingredients, Suture, for all its individuality and creativity, disappoints completely.


Nick and A.J. said...

Although I disagree you post, I enjoyed reading it a lot and I respect your opinion!

I felt "Suture" was a good movie because, even if it was TV-movieish, it was so with a purpose of being subliminal. It never felt like a movie-- more a memory of a dream I had long ago. I didn't think it was pretentious or boring in its presentation ... but we all view things in different ways!

I love your site, though, and like the eclectic blend of movies you review

Abraham said...

Thanks for your input... it's always nice to find out that people out there actually read my stuff!
I can understand your take on "Suture," that it's almost like a dream... but I've never been one to view films as dreams: for me, they usually work as mini-realities into which I submerge myself for a while. Other than a few rarities like Eraserhead or The Attic Expeditions or Last Year at Marienbad, few films ever have managed to take me into what I could see as a dream. Technically, however, the film is excellent; I actually found it much to "cinematic" in its execution to be TV-movieish. But its technical excellence is also what made me find (what I see as) its faults so unforgivably aggravating...

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