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Non-Review Review: Red Lights

With Buried, Rodrigo Cortés demonstrated a skill for executing a Hitchcock-esque high concept. While it wasn’t an entirely successful experiment, it demonstrated that Cortés was a talent to watch. His follow-up, Red Lights, affirms that potential, though it also fails to entirely deliver on its fascinating high concept. Cortés shows a real talent for the technical craft of direction – for framing his shots, use of colour and light and space, pacing and even editing. Writing, directing and editing this film, he demonstrates skill with big ideas and high concepts, as well as skill on a frame-to-frame basis. However, he’s still missing some connection between the two – some intangible skill at developing big ideas into dramatic story beats to fit his own style of film-making. That’s not to say that Red Lights isn’t a fascinating a well-crafted film, just to explain that there are some fundamental flaws.

Do you believe?

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Non-Review Review: Silent House

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2012.

I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that Chris Kentis and Laura Lau are both big fans of Edgar Allan Poe. In translating the cult Uruguayan horror for American audiences, the two directors seem to evoke Poe at every opportunity, from the dreary New England setting, with its early sunset and dreary overgrowth, through to symbolism lifted almost directly from Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher. However, they juxtapose this classic American horror film vibe with a self-consciously modern filming technique. “Real terror in real time,” the poster boasts. While the decision to film the movie so it would seem like one continuous take is generally technically impressive, but also undermines a lot of the stronger elements of the tale. There is, after all, a reason that directors tend to favour long takes for very particular types of films.

In the silent house, nobody can hear you scream...

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Non-Review Review: Martha Marcy May Marlene

The feature debut from director Sean Durkin, Martha Marcy May Marlene, is a shockingly powerful piece of cinema. Deeply unpleasant and uncannily unsettling, Durkin’s debut is occasionally a bit awkwardly paced, but is intensely gripping for most of its runtime. While the film is making waves for a breakout performance from Elizabeth Olsen, it’s John Hawkes who steals the show as the enigmatic and sinister cult leader, known only as Patrick.

A cult film...

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