Friday, January 27, 2006

The guy on Friday

THE GIRL FROM MONDAY (2005, Hal Hartley, seen on DVD)- I'm not a huge Hartley fan, HENRY FOOL aside, but I am a fan of thinking-person's science fiction, which this certainly is. Here Hartley has on his mind the pervasiveness of media and advertising in our society- the film takes place in a near-future after MMM ("Multi Media Monopoly") has assumed power. Legal citizens are implanted with bar codes, and all that is valued by the society is linked to one's "buying power," even sex. Certainly an intriguing premise for a film, but the final result is less than satisfying. I was more intrigued by the ostensible subplot involving Sabrina Lloyd, an MMM exec-turned-counter-revolutionary, than I was with its main plotline, with Bill Sage as Lloyd's colleague, a double agent for the counter-revolution who discovers the titular Girl (Tatiana Abracos), an extraterrestrial who has fallen to Earth in search of another of her people. It's fairly obvious who this person is from the get-go, which I'm not sure is a deliberate decision on Hartley's part, but either way it's distracting. Although not as distracting as the smeary DV photography last seen in Hartley's BOOK OF LIFE- I'm certainly down with Hartley's refusal to make DV look like film-on-a-budget the way most indie filmmakers do, but here it mostly gets in the way of the film. Still, of interest as a think-piece, and who could hate a movie that contains the line, "you are hereby sentenced to two years hard labor, teaching high school"? Rating: **.

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