It gives off a feeling of strangeness, of blur, the output of THE MEND, the first feature film from director John Magary. Indeed, the vision of the work, emerges both a sense of déjà-vu (characters new yorkers who pose existential questions) and at the same time, there is an originality that leaves us quite perplexed regarding the categorization of the work.
At first, THE MEND is thus clearly in the vein of the cinema new york independent, characterized by an economy of means (here, a virtual camera in an apartment, which is also that of the filmmaker) and a story tragi-comedy which revolves around individual reflection (here, two brothers opposite). But at the same time, the characters, Matt, a vagabond, a thirty year-old, and Alan, his younger brother who leads a life neat and tidy, never take the lane all along the lines of this kind of tragi-comedies. The protagonists don’t evolve really and the dialogues are to the economy. Their existential problems, are reflected, rather, in actions, actions that are unpredictable and that lead the movie to a kind of absurd. This uniqueness of the work (it was clearly part of a genre in order to better detach oneself from) is one of the most brilliant, but it is difficult, because of the inconsistency in some situations, to get attached to the characters and the plot. The mix of genres is thus created does not have to be boring and tip quickly, for that is not a fan of these films somewhat extravagant. In addition, the director mark too his difference, his desire to detach himself of the great tragi-comedies in new york, Woody Allen, for example, which makes the work a little bit annoying.
The staging, however, is more interesting as it accompanies intelligently about it causing a sense of disorder. The camera involves a certain degree of theatricality, especially in scenes of intense emotion, but, at the same time, an undeniable sense of the setting and the light falls off. In addition, each sequence ends with a fade to black very marked, which is the film of the first time. In this same vein, music that is omnipresent follows the characters in every moment that evokes the melodies that accompanied the silent films. Figures stylistic past so that will detonate with the very contemporary work. Thus the scene is both theatrical and cinematic, outdated and modern, a confusion which installs a feeling of oddity similar to his story.
“THE MEND, seduced by the undeniable quality of its staging, but leaves us at a distance of the plot and its characters.”
The music itself also contributes to the creation of this strange atmosphere. In fact, it is a classical music consisting of violins squeaky, producing an atmosphere of anxiety, a feeling that something’s not right. In this, we can think of Queen of Earth , which used the same process to build a climate of concern. Queen of Earth , however, was more successful, a great psychological depth, drawing the hero, which is unfortunately absent in THE MEND. It is very pleasant for the characters to give a glimpse of by means of acts, rather than speech, but in this case, we do not understand where the director is coming from. It is, therefore, difficult to identify the true about the film, if this is not a criticism of appearances, of the varnish that surrounds the lives of the urban, surface very smooth, but that hide the same madness that the most marginal. You can also see a reflection on the difficult self-knowledge and the complexity of the relationship that derives from it (The mend literally means ‘healing’).
Thus, THE MEND seduced, by, the undeniable quality of its staging, but leaves us at a distance of the plot and its characters.
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