Thursday, 28 May 2015

REVIEW - ALOFT (CLAUDIA LLOSA)


The Manitoba frost tells you much of what you need to know about Aloft. It's a chilly film, its iciness punctuated by passages of warmth that feel as artificial as the old-age makeup sported by Jennifer Connelly in its final scenes. That's the kind of base emotional manipulation you don't entirely expect from this film, and which it fails to execute anyway - such is the silliness of Claudia Llosa's purpose, your bewilderment may overpower whatever qualms you have with being so blatantly emotionally controlled. It's the cool detachment that actually functions strongest, as Llosa forms a tangible connection with her environment, and encourages a similar response in her actors. The accents may be off, but there's no denying the conviction behind Jennifer Connelly's performance - one of her very best - nor even Cillian Murphy's. Murphy struggles with a character prone to melodramatic huff, and his portion of the story is thus less compelling than Connelly's, even if it's more believable. At the very least, Llosa lays off on the psychobabble - or perhaps just on subscribing to it - for much of Aloft, allowing the story and its characters to do their work without being undermined. A tendency to yield to cliche and a lack of innovation in the treatment of such material drags Aloft down though, and the film is never, not at any single point, quite the profound, affecting work it aspires to be. The crunch of ice beneath a snow boot, or the cosiness of four walls and a blanket in such bitter conditions - these are the details which this film gets right, the Manitoba atmosphere. Aloft is all atmosphere and no point.