Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Hooked. (2007) Adrian Sitaru
Shot constantly from the first person view of any one of the three main characters -- and at that, shot badly, like you're in the bumpiest, craziest car ride of your life and the Blair Witch is closing in in the rearview mirror -- or like a very, very bad reflection of the Dogme '95 film movement -- Hooked feels amateurish, shallow, ugly (DV) and cheap. The latter not only because it hails from a land of lesser money (and thus, less than standard film[?] stock), but "cheap" in that it cheapens its characters. It goes to great lengths to thoroughly reduce them.
They were cheap to begin with. We didn't need a plot to make them so. Mihai and Lubi are trying to runaway from Lubi's husband for the weekend. Their affair has already gone on for a year. It's to the point where she might as well have just stayed with her husband -- it seems all she and Mihai want to do is bicker like ancient lovers.
As she drives them out of town to her picnic-away-from-hubbie, they quarrel and make-up at least, oh, I don't know, seventeen times. But by the time they hit the prostitute in the middle of the road it's a good thing for a third character to enter into this mess. I was already quite tired of the two inside the car.
At first they believe that the prostitute is dead, but soon she's better, and she's on her way to the picnic with them. (hhuuuwhat?!) Once at the beach for their picnic, she acts like something between a pixie and a pilgrim. She continually interferes when she can grab a private moment with each. She says she loves that they're together and wants to help them love each other better. She also says -- to each again, privately -- that the reason she hooks is because she likes to make people happy, and she'd like to make both Mihai and Lubi have a smile on their face, so to speak.
If there really are people like this in the world, I guess I just haven't met them yet, but I've been on more than a few around-the-world type trips, and I've personally never met anyone quite this daft.
The prostitute, Ana (or Violet, depending on which story she's telling) drifts somewhere between being a healing source to their relationship or a thorn that pricks at the skin of it. Already weighed down with the guilt of the affair and adultery, the skin of their relationship isn't thick to begin with.
If the camera would have just sat still for a few seconds and not felt like it had to give me whiplash at the very idea of an idea, if it just could have slowed down, even still hand held, and just let any
-- any!-- image soak into the frame, I might have given the story an easier entrance to my heart. But it would've been a long shot. I'm simply getting a bit tired of hookers and adultery and affairs and turning tricks and wondering what he said and she said when they said that to the hooker, but didn't say it to each other...
People, sit down and have a conversation already. And not one in the car with a camera whipping around in the back seat. Just sit down and look into each other's eyes. Try for once to get yourself out of the picture. You might find that something is still worth saving in the relationship, and you might not need an Ana/Violet there to reveal it. Then again, even if you don't find something worth saving, you could always quit cheating and maybe save one's original vows.
Tough call on Hooked. Certainly not one of the best to come out of Romania, it pales in comparison to 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days. It wasn't a horrible film, but it certainly wasn't great.
But it was a lot of fun to see it at the festival with Romanians and hipsters in attendance.