I am a foreign film fan, so I was quite excited to find this disc in my queue of DVDs to review. From the cover, this looked like just the kind of thing that I typically enjoy. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, you shouldn’t judge a DVD by it’s cover… or something like that. The plot of this film sounds reasonable enough; a couple of documentary filmmakers set out on a quest to try to find out what happened to a beautiful missing girl. Now, this is not a film shot in a “mocumentary” style, it is just a fictional f…lm that happens to feature documentary filmmakers.
Only it’s not, really. This is a film that seems to be suffering from multiple personality syndrome. On the one hand, it presents itself as a movie about the filmmakers’ search for the truth. On the other hand, so much of the film includes scenes presented “flashback style”, that the segments with the documentarians are the ones that seem out of place. This is a story that would have worked much better if it had followed a more basic storytelling style, instead of dragging extraneous characters into the mix.
The audio quality on this disc is quite poor. On the one hand, I don’t speak Greek, so it doesn’t really matter that some of the dialog is hard to hear. It does matter, however, that not everything that the actors say is included in the subtitles. The viewer gets the gist of what is going on, but it is sometimes quite clear that there is more going on than English-speaking viewers are let in on.
Since this is a stereo track, there is no sound from the back of the room. As fate would have it, the subwoofer is not used, either. Finally, the score to the film is painfully sparse and sub-par, killing off any lingering hope of finding anything worthwhile to say about this soundtrack.
This disc features what I can easily call the most annoying transfer I have ever seen. Anything that moves in the frame is extremely jerky. The larger and faster the object, the more jerky it is. It is as if the film was shot with a webcam, instead of a film camera. Was the cinematographer trying to save on film by shooting at a painfully low number of frames per second? We may never know. The resulting effect, however, makes the film is nearly unwatchable.
Even without this unfortunate fact, there are other problems with the transfer. For starters, it is presented in fullscreen letterbox. This is a format that is virtually unseen on DVD, for good reason. This ensures the viewer that the picture will never look right, no matter what kind of display it is viewed on. Also, the colors are badly washed out, and there is a general lack of sharpness to the images that is most disconcerting.
Not a single extra is included on this disc. In fact, the only menu options available are “play movie” and “scene selections”. You’d better hit the net if you want more information on this film.
If I had to sum up my review in one word, the word would be “disappointing”. I think the director had some good ideas, and he certainly took some chances, but in the end, the film just never really came together. The additional hindrances of bad audio and an atrocious transfer make his attempt at low budget filmaking even more painful. I would not be at all surprised if Karkanevatos ends up making some truly entertaining films in the future. This, however, is most certainly not it.