Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Film Review: Two Bit Waltz

If this had been billed as a student film, I might have tolerated it a bit better.  Sadly, this first-foray by Clara Mamet (daughter of David Mamet) is just not smooth enough to be considered off-beat or quirky comedy.  The problem is that it tries too hard.

It's supposed to be autobiographical, which is even crazier.  Does David Mamet hide under his bed all day?

I'm all for absurdest humor.  I love Monty Python and have enjoyed some classic off-the-wall comedies from the UK as well as the US.  But maybe that's my problem.  Nothing seemed original.  Sure, dancing fish and ballerinas out of the blue does make one pause and wonder, but I was a teenager when MTV was born.  Oddball videos were a part of my upbringing, so I have seen this all before.

Sometimes a film is funnier to those involved in making it than it is to the audience.  I have a feeling the cast and crew laughed themselves silly, but maybe because it was a lot of fun to do something silly, quirky and just a bit odd.  Unfortunately, this didn't translate into the finished product.  The audience wasn't privy to on set antics, so what we're left with is an essentially, flat, static image of oddball things being played out in front of us.

Had the cinematography been more fluid, perhaps a moving camera that picked up the flow of the action, maybe it would have been more interesting and I might have felt a bit more involved.  The camera was fixed in most scenes as things danced by (or danced within the frame).  Clara Mamet directed this piece, and one has to wonder if the fixed camera made it easier for her to direct herself, rather than worry about what the camera would be doing had it been in motion.

To be fair I walked out half-way through, so I my commentary is really about the first 45 minutes. I do not know what decision, if any, Maude made about college, or whether she had an epiphany that changed the mood of the film.  Quite frankly, I didn't care enough to sit through to the end to find out.

I waited a week before posting this review to see what other critiques there were online and so far found nothing.  I have no idea what the release date is, if any, so perhaps I just have to wait a little longer to hear what others think.