Friday, November 07, 2008

Review: Synecdoche, New York (2008)

Charlie Kaufman makes his directorial debut with a film he also wrote (natch), starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams, Catherine Keener, and way too many other famous actresses to name.

The movie is very surrealistic and odd; the notion of a timeline is irrelevant. It's hard to know what is real, and what is in the mind, but after a while, I start to not care anymore.

I appreciate the production value, and the film is well made and ambitious. However, it's overly complicated. So many characters flee in and out of the picture, it's unclear who is important and who is not. There are too many things unexplained and left frustratingly ambiguous.

The problem here is not Kaufman's directing, but his writing (surprise!). I desperately wanted to feel for the characters, and hurt when they hurt, but there's nothing there, and where his last script (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) triumphs, this one fails.

I think that this film is good; it is well made and well performed, and the script does sail mostly on positive waters, but just because it's good, doesn't mean I have to like it. See for yourself.

Grade: C

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