EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|UNCERTAINTY (directors/writers: Scott McGehee/David Siegel; cinematographer: Rain Li; editor: Paul Zucker; music: Peter Nashel; cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Bobby Thompson), Lynn Collins (Kate Montero), Assumpta Serna (Sylvia Monter), Olivia Thirlby (Sophie Montero), Louis Arcella (Diego); Runtime: 101; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Scott McGehee/David Siegel; IFC Films; 2009)|
filming technique backfires."
by Dennis Schwartz
It's co-written and directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel ("Suture,"/"The Deep End"/"Bee Season"). The film was ad-libbed, and filled with tasty location shots of the Big Apple. The result is a gimmicky craftsman type of pic that takes us into Blind Chance/Sliding Doors styles, giving us two parallel stories that possibly merge into one. But the gimmicky filming technique backfires, as it ruins what potentially could have been an involving tale if shot in a conventional format and not needlessly left so oft-putting by relying totally on unconventional filming.
On July 4, Canadian
musician Bobby Thompson (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and
his Argentine-American girlfriend dancer Kate Montero (Lynn Collins) are indecisive about how
they wish to spend the holiday. While on the Brooklyn
Bridge they toss a coin to decide on whether to spend
the holiday with Kate's traditional family or wing it
for a spontaneous
adventure. Thereby we are given two alternative
In Manhattan, the couple
find a smartphone in the cab and get mixed-up with
Russian mafia types when do-gooder Bobby leaves his
cell number for the phone return instead of leaving
the lost phone with the cabbie. Things get tense when
someone retrieving the phone is murdered outside a
Chinatown restaurant and the rival gangster offers $500,000 for the phone,
which probably has vital info downloaded. The thug
threatens to kill Bobby if the phone is not returned
or if he goes to the police. As a result, the couple
go on the run through Chinatown and City Hall areas
from the pursuing gangsters. The other story takes
place on the Brooklyn side of the bridge, where the
couple attends Kate's family cookout and she refuses
to tell her caring but uptight mom (Assumpta Serna), someone she has an edgy
relationship with, that she's pregnant but tells her
younger sister (Olivia Thirlby) and brain-damaged ex-boxer uncle (Louis Arcella). The other excitement
about the visit is that the couple visit with a stray
dog just found on Jamaica Boulevard.
The drama that wants to say something smart about decision ran too long and never generated enough interest to care about the outcome of either of its stories. The dull domestic story just sat there like flat soda, while the thriller chase story seemed devoid of thrills. The filmmakers cared more about their gimmicks and keeping the film as an acting exercise.Though they got a terrific performance by Levitt, that just wasn't enough
REVIEWED ON 5/24/2013 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ