Saturday, January 28, 2012

Vanishing on 7th Street

When the apocalypse is so dull that you can't wait for it to come.

There's an unwritten rule in cinema, etched in capital letters, as old as the first reel to reel.

And it goes as follows. The fact that a director may have been behind a decent film and the fact that a story plot may also sound vaguely intriguing are no guarantee of a good film.

Brad Anderson may have been the man behind both Session 9 and The Machinist, and his latest Vanishing on 7th Street may also sound like your perfect so-called "post-apocalyptic" story. Unfortunately though, it's painfully weak as well as way too flimsy and badly acted to actually go anywhere.

For all the amount of semi-deserted, mysterious-looking and Twin Peak-esque scenes set in an old neon-lit bar, the plot is simply too feeble and anemic (yes, thanks thesaurus) to strike any chord with the viewer.

Not to mention that Hayden Christensen and the other actors are so wooden that, put next to Pinocchio, they would positively make him look like Plastic Man.

Which wouldn't be so bad were it not for the fact that character development is below zero.

The thrills evaporate after about fifteen minutes as you quickly realise that a single episode of the Teletubbies will carry more suspense than this pap.

What seem to be the only four survivors to a mysterious plague that snatches people away, are just sitting there, fiddling with ice cubes and fuel, and periodically wailing that they have lost their kid/mum/colleagues/ex wife.

That's all they seem to be saying. And after you've heard the same lines 7 times in a row you just start hoping for the entity to put the inept four out of their misery once and for all.

As for the apocalypse, it must be the most docile one to be ever conjured up by a cinematic mind.

The same monstrous thing that hits people in an instant in the first part of the film, is later on so slow that even a snail would crawl back to safety once they twig that they're about to be snatched.

Vanishing on 7th Street is like a fantastic initial idea that crashed into the worst of writer's blocks within ten minutes.

Which, given how crowded the post-apocalyptic genre is starting to look, makes this film even more redundant.


Paul said...

I thought this was pants too. I mean a dull film is not a bad idea when audiences aren’t expecting anything too dramatic to happen. What did you think of the Mrs T film Claude? Personally I was disappointed although Meryl Streep was superb, oddly enough I loved 'Cowboys and Aliens' when I saw it on Sky the other night.

claude said...

Haven't watched it yet Paul, but I'll get back to you when I do :-) Heard mixed reactions about it though. Why were you disappointed?

PS Hope all is good.

Paul said...

Sorry for the slack reply yes all is fine at mo thanks. The acting in 'The Iron Lady' was superb especially Meryl Streep. What disappointed me however was the overwhelming emphasis the scriptwriters placed on her enfeebled and confused mental state in later life.

Perhaps this did add to the story in one sense as it clearly demonstrated the profound love that existed between her and Dennis T. However there was too much of it and it detracted from the actual story too much. I mean for instance the 1984 Miner's strike was not even covered and I would like to have seen some of the controversies of that episode given an airing. It id demonstrate the huge extent to which conflict throughout Mrs T's life (with her male dominated party, class barriers at Cambridge, the IRA, Falklands etc)shaped her personality and she was undoubtedly a combative spirit whether you admire her or not. But I still thought the film fell short of what it could have been just my tuppence worth.