Sunday, October 16, 2011

Faces in the Crowd and Laughing at Kismet: A Movie Review

Director: Julien Magnat.

Writers: Julien Magnat and Kelly Smith.

Faces in the Crowd is a thriller destined for a straight-to-video release in late October. This film stars actresses Milla Jovovich and Sarah Wayne Callies in a tale of prosopagnosia. What is prosopagnosia you ask? This is a condition caused by damage to the occipital or temporal lobe that leaves the affected with an inability to remember or identify faces. This is an interesting plot device that leaves Anna unable to point a finger at a killer, who she has just witnessed kill an innocent young woman. The rest of the film revolves around this device while the film bounces back and forth in genres, between thriller and romance. The end result is an average film that is remarkably ridiculous in the final moments.

Anna is walking home from a late night club when a pair of voices draw her attention. There on a bridge are two people making out, but the man has a strange way of showing passion. He whips out a blade and begins to dissect the woman. Anna flees, but her cell phone gives her position away to the killer. The chase is on and Tear Jerk Jack wins the foot race, with Anna struggling in high heels. She is thrown off the bridge and on the way down she hits her head. Cue the prosopagnosia. From here on in there is this interplay between Anna and the killer, as Anna struggles to remember his face. The plot does not develop much from here until Anna starts bed hopping from boyfriend to detective.

This is another, what we like to call here at 28DLA, love quadruple. The detective investigating the case falls in love with Anna, Anna's boyfriend Bryce falls in and out of love with her and even the killer gets to play out his desires for her. Soon Anna is breaking up with a long term boyfriend and jumping into another man's bed. The love story begins to feel forced and awkward. Possibly, the chemistry was not there, but the changing of relationships so quickly seemed strange and unbelievable. And really, Faces in the Crowd moves away from the realm of thriller in favour of romance for much of the middle part of the film. The thrilling elements have to wait until the final moments to create any excitement again.

And the ending in Faces in the Crowd is so over-the-top that this reviewer was truly laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. At this point this reviewer may have to move into spoiler territory. One of Anna's lovers is basically a one-night stand. There is some talk of kismet (fate) but the lack of chemistry makes these scenes truly hard to watch. Then the character that Anna has slept with dies and the emotion on the screen is again so melodramatic that this reviewer was thinking to himself: what the hell is going on here? Anna leaves her live in boyfriend after a night without batting a tear and then when her one night between the sheets dies - she is sobbing as if the world is falling apart. Reality check please. Then there is a little rugrat who enters the picture and this reviewer thought: this is a one night stand from hell! Kids are great, but not as a result of such a short term relationship. The picture truly ends with some unintentional humour that has to be seen to be believed.

Finally, one last comment is necessary to talk of Sarah Wayne Callies performance as Francine. This reviewer knew she was attached to this film, but she is unrecognizable as her character. Callies is truly a chameleon in this showing.

Faces in the Crowd suffers from averageness. The performances are great, but many scenes seem overly awkward. What was that scene with the hobo and the detective all about? Other scenes seem pointless, while the romance seems unbelievable. This film tries too many genres while not able to fully utilize the thriller nor the romantic to its full potential. Hopefully those who watch the film will find some humour in this off the wall romantic thriller. Or was this a late stab at comedy?

Story/plot/writing: 6.5 (an interesting plot device which is mostly utilized, but the story often seems awkward and unbelievable).
Characters/believability: 6 (many of the characters behave strangely and the chemistry is overly awkward).

Overall: 6.25 (not recommended).

*as an aside, imagine having akinetopsia. This is caused by damage to the parietal lobe (top of the head) that leaves the sufferer unable to see motion. You would not be able to tell if a car was moving or if the glass was pouring water. This would be even worse than prosopagnosia.

The film's fan page is here:

Faces in the Crowd on Facebook

A second review of this title at Upcoming Horror Movies:

Faces in the Crowd Reviewed by Fright Master

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