Edinburgh Film Festival 2011/ Take 9

Day 9

The Caller **

Director Matthew Parkhill/ 90 mins 

A horror mystery thriller which unites two different actors who will be infamous to audiences playing different sets of vampire characters.

 

Divorcee Mary Kee (Rachelle Lefevre) moves into a new apartment following a troubling divorce from her husband (Ed Quinn). She is starts to receive mysterious calls from a woman calling herself Rose and who states that she is calling from the 1950s. Mary becomes romantically involved with teacher John Guidi (Stephen Moyer), who helps protect her from her ex-husband and tries to help her with the abusive caller.

 

The plot is an interesting idea, which seems to blend ideas from movies like Frequency, One Missed Call and Psycho. But sadly the notion becomes more of a novelty item than intriguing one. The pacing is also rather sporadic in which as the film goes on, it becomes rather silly, boring and very predictable.

 

Both Lefevre and Moyer try their best with the material given, but the chemistry between them is sadly lacking. While the usually reliable Luis Guzman is completely miscast in the role of the friendly neighbour.

 

Twilight and True Blood fans may get a kick at seeing the vampires together in a film, but the intriguing hybrid of genres is sadly misjudged and tiresome.

 

Tomboy ****

Director Céline Sciamma / 81 mins 

After her impressive debut with Water Lilies, French auteur Céline Sciamma has done what what very few directors do after their first feature and that is to scale back with a low budget second film.

 

Ten year old tomboy Laure (Zoé Héran) moves to a new neighbourhood with her family.  She dresses as a boy and convinces her new friends that she’s ten-year-old Michael.  While pretending to be Michael, Laure wins admirers for his football skills and steals the heart of young Lisa.  But how long can she keep her secret?  

 

A story about transgender at such a young age could have gone so wrong, if it had not been handled delicately. Sciamma has crafted a film that is quite brave and bold with a difficult subject matter. She does not over-milk the sentimental value of the drama and does not judge any of characters by their actions

 

Newcomer Zoé Héran gives a bewitching impressive debut as the confused child. While the rest of the cast offer strong support with amusing low key roles.

 

The film does suffer a little from slow pacing and at times feels like it would have worked better as a 40 minute short. But the overall power of the film is the subject matter and the performances that will be in the audience’s minds for days after watching a subtle well made piece of filmmaking.

 

Reviews by Paul Logan

 

 

 

 

 

 

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