Wednesday, December 13, 2006
The movie Silent Hill is aptly named I've discovered. It's at least a step closer to a return to the silent films. When I watched the film on mute while playing a CD, I found that I was perfectly able to keep up with the storyline, or at least, no more confused than when I watched it with the sound.
This isn't a criticism either. I think that these CGI extravaganzas are becoming pure cinema- fantastic images with no roots in human reality. Because American films are increasingly shot for the 'international market', they're getting shorter on dialogue. For entire stretches of this film, there are no lines, aside from one character calling out another's name. The idea, as far as I can tell, is that these sorts of films are easier to dub. So, there is little dialogue, and the characters are paper-thin, and there are incredible visuals derived from comic books and video games- I would call this geniune silent filmmaking.
It seems a bit startling how disinterested contemporary filmgoers are in human beings. But, like anything else, I think it grates on me not because movies like this one get made, but because our video store doesn't get a lot of movies that aren't based in comic books or video games! I mean, let them eat Ultraviolet! But, I want to see the human face every once in a while. What I love about Ingmar Bergman is that he can reveal something about the human condition in a scene with a couple talking over the dinner table. I don't see many directors that can do that anymore.
But, if this is where films are going- purely disconnected and surreal images that can be valued for their craftsmanship alone- in spite of the fact that the storyline can be summed up as "Mother wants to save her daughter from ghouls"- well, then I'm not sure there isn't something worth watching here. Carol Spier's sets are incredible- she made the next town over from ours look totally abandonned- the special effects are astounding, and the overall look of the film is so textured that you feel like it's going to leave dust on your living room floor.
So, maybe these sorts of films should take the next step and do away with scripts altogether. A film like this doesn't seem like it needs the flimsy story that has been attached to it- the dream logic of the visuals should be enough. If people aren't interested in reality, don't weigh them down with it. These films shouldn't be scripted or even directed anymore- let the F/X people assemble them from their dreams and hallucinations.
Posted by Rufus at 9:41 AM