Lola is a bit of a strange girl. She is both charming and odd. On the one hand, she is an independent fashion designer who has had marginal success selling her clothing to retail outlets. On the other hand, she is a sheltered little girl who has no self-esteem, and lives with a demanding and overpowering husband. Lola is a woman that has never grown up, and never spent any time in the real world whatsoever. She is a child.
All of that changes, however, over the course of one single day. When she instinctive…y saves a stranger from being hit by a bus, Lola begins a friendship with a woman even crazier than she is. Through a complicated (yet perfectly understandable) series of events, Lola completely takes over the life of the other woman, essentially becoming her new found friend.
Part David Lynch, part Krzysztof Kieslowski, and part Vertigo, this is a fun and fascinating character study. Everybody in this film is running from their past, and the results of their actions are wide and varied. By the end of the film, Lola finally decides that if she can’t fix the mess that she has made of her own life, she can at least fix someone else’s. By fixing that life, she grows up, and becomes the woman she should have been long ago.
Unfortunately, despite all of its grace and trendy camera work, there is one component that it is severely lacking from this film; a third act. The picture moves along as the pace of a glacier, but the tactic works, as the audience is forced to concentrate on the main character alone (wonderfully played by Sabrina Grdevich). Though there is a definite resolution, it is ever so slight, and the sudden arrival of the credits will catch many viewers off guard.
This is a case of a great soundtrack that could have been even better. Much like in the film Heat, Bessai has chosen to utilize simple tones throughout much of the score, resulting in a bit of uneasiness that plays well with the film. These synthesizer-induced notes sound great in 2.0, but they would have sounded even better in 5.1. Nevertheless, there is lots of clarity from this audio offering. Dialog is crisp and clear, and there is quite a bit of detail. On occasion, the ambient noise tends to get a bit overpowering, but the positive effect is that it really helps to place viewers within the scenes. Some sounds travel across the front of house on occasion, but most of the audio is stationary.
The audio on this disc is a perfect example of how much Foley and an appropriately-produced score can add to the overall impact of a film. So much of this story is told without dialog that these devices become absolutely essential. Lucky for the viewers, they were used very well indeed.
The audio and the film contained on this disc are both very good, but not perfect. The video, however, is a different story. For the first time in a long time, I am able to give the video on a disc a perfect score. Despite the “standard format” notification on the box, this is a widescreen presentation. There are really not enough good things that I can say about the quality of the picture on this disc. The film is sharp and colorful, with black levels as dark as the depths of space. Flesh tones are completely accurate. It is also nice to sometimes see entire frames painted in the same hue of blue or red.
The camera work is equally impressive. A mix of high-tension handheld shots and graceful dolly moves really helps to add to the scene-specific feel of the picture. Bessai also takes advantage of the recent trend of presenting a single scene through a succession of jump cuts. The result of both of these techniques is a film in which the viewer feels the story, instead of just watching it. Viewers become active participants in the events playing out on screen, and the film is the better for it.
The sleek, modern look of this blemish-free transfer is simply amazing. This is one of the best looking discs that I have come across in a long, long time.
Unfortunately, not a single special feature is included with this title. Not a trailer, not a cast and crew bio, not a photo gallery, not even a chapter listing contained inside the packaging. When you buy this movie, the movie is all you get. For anything else, you’re pretty much on your own.
This is an interesting disc… if you can find it. Canadians will have better luck than the rest of their North American counterparts tracking this one down. Consumers that succeed will be treated to a very unique film, despite its disappointing ending. With this film, Carl Bessai has proven to me that he is a director to watch. While this does not develop into the brilliant film that it appears to be at first, there are certainly hints of the brilliance that is to come.