Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Haze (2005)

For a minute, at least, it looked like Shinya Tsukamoto may have returned to his senses. Shinya's aesthetic has generally been one that emphasizes inference over explication, and that tendency gets literalized in this minimal featurette that can only be described as an avant-Saw. It's about a guy trapped in an enclosed space with no knowledge of how he got there, why he's there or how to get out, and it succeeds in generating some low-level claustrophobia and extreme discomfort. The low light levels and brutal sound mixing used in filming this only exacerbate this -- in particular, there's an early sequence where Shinya has to drag himself along a metal pipe by his teeth that causes major wincing. Once you get past a certain point, though, the vanishing point of this technique's effectiveness has pretty much been reached, and disinterest sets in even though the film only spans a scant 55 minutes. It's becoming clear to me that Shinya keeps his films short because he never actually has much of substance to say, and this film with its repetitive dialogue and circular logic isn't an exception, sadly; as it turns out, the story is leading somewhere metaphorical, and to reveal that the metaphor is both hopelessly obscure and hopelessly banal seems inevitable with this director. Per the usual, it's a triumph of form over content, and while I still admire Shinya's boundless enthusiasm for formal experimentation, I'm really starting to wish that he'd find some damn content for once.

Grade: C


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home