– on the films BELOW and ONE-HOUR PHOTO –
The film selection for this film review-diptych from the recent film production of the New York film school, for a really long time proved as almost unique and with no rival film-school in USA, with its own specific film poetics, poetics that significantly diverges from the Hollywood’s entertainment-business-soap-propaganda poetics, so much closer to the European film art-poetics, was made, above all, by the quality of the newer film titles from that film production that can be found in our country… To be exact, these two films can be found in the most of the Macedonian video rentals as DVD editions.
Directed by: David N. Twohy;
Written by: David N. Twohy and Darren Aronofski;
Cast: Bruce Greenwood, Olivia Williams, Mathew Davis…
#1 The film BELOW, directed by David N. Twohy, known by the low-budget SF-film Pitch Black with Win Diesel, and written by Darren Aronofski (the American dark film-prince), the film author who, with his films Pi () and Requiem For A Dream, simply took the breath away of the film audiences through US and the rest of the world opened to such kind of a film experience. At the beginning, BELOW was named as Proteus, and Aronofski planned this project to be the successor of Pi, but later, he decides to adapt the Hubert Selby Junior novel, from which the famous Requiem For A Dream did come out. The story of BELOW is placed, in whole, in the deep ocean waters and on the US Navy submarine #2 “Mantra”. The crew of “Mantra” rescues three survivors of the British ambulance boat sunk by the Nazi’s, and among them, the nurse Claire Page (Olivia Williams). With the coming of the survivors, in the submarine start to happen various mysterious events and the crew starts to get suspicious that “Mantra” is being possessed by some supernatural forces. The submarine captain Douglas O’Dell (Mathew Davis) dies under mysterious circumstances; the colonel Brice (Bruce Greenwood) takes the command of the submarine, and he must face even more and more stranger events that take place within “Mantra”, as the mysterious of his crew, but also his own disturbance considering his common sense and rational judgement. Is “Mantra” really possessed by the supernatural forces, hidden in the unexplored ocean depths, and is the death of the captain Douglas really an accident, or it is a result of some previously thought conspiracy…?
#3 In theory, BELOW seems as almost perfect hybrid, a true recipe for an exciting psycho-horror: the unexplored ocean depths so offering for creating a mystery, the submarine and its claustrophobic environment, the time-location within the frames of the Second World War… And above all, the great film crew in this film: Darren Aronofski and David Twohy as a screen-writers, and with the second one as the film-director, and finally – Miramax as a producing company… Really, looks like all cards are at the right place. But anyway, the final conclusion that remains after watching the film, is that it doesn’t completely fulfills the expectations. Simply, the true chemistry needed for a quality and significant film seems little under the real potential of the story and the film crew. For instance, we must note that BELOW doesn’t achieve the effect of the previous Aronofski’s achievements. The required atmosphere isn’t achieved in whole, as well as the film suspense tension needed for a film of this kind. Too much opened and unanswered questions, clichés, too much déjà vu moments, etc. Seems that BELOW is lost within the recent (over)production of independent projects. But anyhow, it doesn’t mean at all, that Aronofski should be cast away as a great cinematographic hope of the American cinema. His newest authorial project The Fountain should appear somewhere at the middle or the end of 2003. For us, it remains to wait and see…