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Friday, April 13, 2012

Silent House (Limited Release Date: 3-9-2012)

        A movie’s plot isn’t always its primary story. Avatar, for instance, tells a tale of environmental preservation, and bravery under fire... but is that what you remember it for? The actual narrative at hand, the thing that people engaged with, and were excited by, isn’t about tall blue aliens, but technological innovation, and where movie magic can take us today. Silent House plays a similar card; While there’s certainly a story arch on hand, the movie-under-the-movie is all about technique. The film consists of one single, unbroken take, a camera filming an hour and a half’s worth of commotion without ever cutting away. There’s a plot, sure, but it’s the single take/real time style choices who are to thank for putting curious butts in seats.

        As if entirely too aware of this, Co-Directors Chris Kentis and Laura Lau obsess over visual details, while more or less throwing narrative spesificity out the window. Elizabeth Olsen, alternating between natural and broken in much the same fashion as her Martha Marcy May Marlene performance, is the easy stand-out of a cast that feels largely directionless. The thespians essentially blow through a plethora of Haunted House movie cliches, including an ending that absolutely falls apart at the seams. Who cares? Silent House is more of an experiment than a proper film, and even if the story is tells is pretty underwhelming, the visual composition of the thing is nothing short of breath-taking. Yeah, it wears off after a while, and probably isn’t really enough to justify the creation of an entire feature, but its sure one curious little novelty. Wether that’s worth the price of admission is all in the eye of the beholder.

Grade: B-

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