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It's a real shame when a potentially engaging drama with a powerful theme gets pulverized into dust the way it does here. The story itself may be worthwhile but the STORYTELLING is atrocious. The pacing is sheer torture. Unforgivably, pointlessly slow. I watched the last 45 minutes at 2x speed. Result? STILL SLOW!
The film is made up almost entirely of single-shot scenes, usually lasting several minutes each, with virtually no editing. Which means an almost complete absence of normal film grammar. If it takes someone 5 minutes to walk across the street, that's exactly what you'll see. Every. Damn. Step. If it takes someone 2 minutes to think of something to say, that's exactly what you'll see. In fact, you get a lot of that - 2 or 3 characters standing & staring in silence between brief lines of dialogue. For variety, they occasionally sit & stare.
Half the time, you're staring at the back of someone's head for minutes at a time or listening to someone speaking from off-screen. Because everything is shown from a single camera position and there's no editing. You'll see characters looking at something for a full minute before the film FINALLY shows you what they were looking at. My viewing experience went from intrigue to confusion to hope to impatience to annoyance and finally, a kind of infuriated boredom.
Imagine a novel that did something equivalent. Instead of "John crossed the street", you read 5 pages of "John took a step. And another step. And another step..." for five pages before finally reading "... and John entered the building."
The acting is no better. Virtually everyone speaks in a slow monotone, whether the situation is relaxed or tense. This is not the stoicism of characters trying to keep their emotions in check. No, they are just robotic. For the entire film.
I give this film 1 star because zero stars isn't allowed.
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