Edinburgh Film Festival 2011/ Take 5 & 6

Day 5 & 6

By Day & By Night (De dia y de noche) **

Director Alejandro Molina/ 90 mins 

I wanted to enjoy this film with the description of ‘Gattaca meets Rollerball meets Blade Runner’, how could it possibly go wrong?


I came out disillusioned. The basic concept of this film is intriguing. In order to relieve population congestion, a totalitarian future government introduces a DNA altering enzyme dividing the human population into day-dwellers and night-dwellers. As the sun sets, half the people fall into a cataleptic state as the other half awake, and vice versa at dawn.


So far, so good. But the film-makers have taken an intriguing idea and laid on the high concept with a trowel. The camera lingers on long moments, concentrating on the actors’ faces past the point of artistic licence. The metropolis is shown from the air to consist of thousands of ungainly, average apartments, but the action (such as it is) all takes place in very stylised futuristic settings. And yet it also has a very dated feel. It is as if the director took the lengthy overdrawn moments from 2001AD to Solaris and used them as the inspiration for the production design and the pacing.


The actors come across well, the cinematography is lovingly presented, the sound world is highly crafted. And yet it just doesn’t make a satisfying experience. It is a 30 minute short drawn out to 90 minutes. Watch it for the style, but expect to be frustrated by the pacing. An updated Logan’s Run with a high concept, but ultimately unsatisfying in its plot and ending. 


Reviewed by Andy Connor



Troll Hunter (Trolljegeren) ****

Director André Ovredal / 104 mins 

Audiences have treated or some cases mistreated to various faux documentaries, from witches to alien abductions. Now a film crew heads to the fjords of Norway to hunt some Trolls.


A group of students investigate a series of strange bear killings, but uncover that there is a much more complex situation behind the scenes. They start to follow Hans, mysterious hunter who they discover has been hired by the government to capture what they thought were mythological creatures.


During the first twenty minutes of the film, it was hard to see where it was going. On the surface it started out as yet another Blair Witch Project, in which the audience is told that missing footage has been recovered from the site. But once we are introduced to Hans and the humour kicks in, it becomes a whole different entity. 


What makes the film really quite clever is that there are not just one species of troll, but several variations big trolls, small trolls, three headed trolls. Not to mention the impressive special effects that have been created on such a small budget for a film on this scale. The script even uses amusing in-jokes surrounding infamous folktales  like Trolls being able to detect Christians and Billy Goats Gruff references.


While the movie has similarities with previous films that have gone be here before, Troll Hunter is deliriously good fun and a joy to watch. It will be interesting to see what Hollywood will do for the planned remake.


Reviewed by Paul Logan







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