Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Golden Earrings and Running with Scissors: A Movie Review

*Warning: there be plot reveals below.

Director/writer: Marion Kerr.

Golden Earrings is an eighty minute feature film from Film Crewe Productions, which is currently on the film festival circuit. The film had a recent showing at the Dances with Films Film Festival June 8th and director Marion Kerr's (The Boston Strangler) Golden Earrings has been reviewed by Film Snobbery and Rogue Cinema. Now, the picture gets a review here and this independent cinema takes viewers on a journey to madness and isolation from a feminine perspective, with the mysterious disappearance of a young woman and friend leading to tragic events.

Filmsnobbery says of the conclusion in Golden Earrings: "a Hitchcockian ending that many other suspense writers should take a note from," but the tale begins at the start where five friends gather for a fun nite of pizza, drinking and ouija board playing. A fun, light-heartened get-together descends into allusions of deadly accidents and one character's mental instability shows early. Sequences from here on in are often dimly lit with central character, Ronnie (Julia Marchese), showing the darker side of what is probably schizophrenia, while the remaining friends become target practice for a sharp pair of scissors, or shocked in to submission by the unfolding of events. As Filmsnobbery says, the ending is a double-twist, with two surprises coming one after the other in quick succession.

Golden Earrings, as a generalization, has a very feminine feel early in the picture as characterizations are given gentle dimensions and the writing focuses on dialogue or bonding rather than hooks, or action; however, the second half of the film goes in to unexpected places with some slow pacing amped up by conflicted interactions between characters. Rogue Cinema says of the female characters: "we'll never figure them out...[and] Golden Earrings is a glimpse into the psyche...that some women have" (Rogue). Although, thankfully, not all women are as complex as this, this quote shows that a kind and friendly character like Ronnie can unravel with a little too much alone time in to something very benevolent, and self-loathing.

Kerr shows a flair for character interactions, and a natural knowledge for building intensity, but a short critique is required here to balance this review. Character Julian's (John T. Woods) death via a very sharp cutting instrument is somewhat unbelievable as Julian does not fight for his life, nor attempt to reach for help and instead dies as if having a nap with the final lines "that is okay" (Golden). Also, the films soundtrack could have used a few more songs to fill the background: "[the film] could have benefited more from some musical cue changes rather than just the complete silence" (Rogue). However, the ending is rewarding and makes up for some of the flaws, while the acting is fluid and right on the mark. One final comment, how does the title relate to the film?

Future showings for Golden Earrings have not been announced, however, fans of the suspenseful and unexpected really need to pay attention to Kerr's work here as she sets the bar high for other directors in the horror genre. Even writers could take note of this director's ability to slowly build a film to tragic results. More info' and reviews of this film are available at the sites below.

Plot/story/treatment: 7 (characters are overly happy with only one character showng a darker side).
Acting/believability/consistency: 8 (no problems here, dialogue is quick and snappy, sometimes funny).
Photography/lighting/camera techniques: 7 (some good scares developed with camera angles, but a tiny bit dark and a broader diversity of techniques could have been used).

Overall: 7.15 out of 10 (a very good showing for a first feature).

The Golden Earrings homepage:

The Golden Earrings Official Website

Golden Earrings on Twitter:

GE on Twitter

The Golden Earrings fan site:

GE on Facebook

A review of the movie at Film Snobbery:

A Golden Earrings Review at Film Snobbery

A second review of Kerr's latest at Rogue Cinema:

Golden Earrings Reviewed at Rogue Cinema

A second article on the film here on 28DLA with more details on the cast:

Golden Earrings Article here on 28DLA

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