Monday, August 27, 2007

Court of Lonely Royals: Grade C


Court of Lonely Royals (2006)

Damon Gameau, Samantha Noble, Leah De Neise, Ayse Tezel. Writer, Director Rohan Michael Toole. (Australian)

I love the youthful exuberance of this obscure, dark, gritty, Aussie crime thriller. Two young people are hired assassins working for the police in an unidentified Australian city. The young man wants out of the business but is told “there is no out.” A depressive young woman is eventually given a contract to kill him, but not before she forms a relationship with a hooker who wants to be part of the business, for excitement and to get revenge on men. Various incidents and accidents occur until the noir-ish, unresolved ending. The story is patchy, not quite strong enough in character or plot to carry the weight, but with fine individual scenes of intense drama or subtle humor. Strong acting and noticeably good directing keep you watching. The music is good, urban, hip, but the sound engineering is so bad that it obscures much of the dialog. Directing and photography are very creative, borrowing the creepy nocturnal violence of Hong-Kong crime drama and using loads of creative photographic techniques: color intercut with black and white, solarization, filtration, tinting, odd pans and zooms, double exposures, and on and on. All that experimentation lacks discipline however and becomes distracting, but it’s still fun to see what the young people are doing these days.

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