Wednesday, 20 January 2016

REVIEW - 11 MINUTES (JERZY SKOLIMOWSKI)


A silly satire that's easier to admire from afar, once its formal cheekiness has resounded longer in one's memory than its narrative laziness. Jerzy Skolimowski pokes fun at the self-seriousness of so many sprawling ensemble pieces with a fun feature that intertwines these disparate stories in an openly mocking manner, but though the stories are seemingly mandated to be dull and derivative, 11 Minutes is rather less fun for that fact. You're actually rooting for the film to fuck itself up, to switch storyline with the brisk brutality that it does, if only to witness a moment of genuine invention. And 11 Minutes is full of this stylistic invention - editing and sound design emphasise the meaninglessness of everyday life, the futility in placing any stock in any of this banality, with playful, deflating cuts of equal portentousness and pointlessness. A semi-supernatural element has a pretty extraneous part to play - it's ill-advised, only acquiring some moderate significance in the film's final, memorable image. Skolimowski and editor Agnieszka Glinska have a handle on the technique; would that they could find more to do with it, or even without it. In essence, as a story about stories, 11 Minutes is essentially uninteresting, and only ever otherwise when it acknowledges this detail (attempts at increasing the interest level within the narrative itself actually come off feeling forced). It's an excellent conceit marred by simplistic scripting, uneven acting, and a pervasive familiarity - necessary evils, perhaps, given the raison d'etre of the film, yet unignorable ones too. A good movie has been crafted out of a mediocre one; a little more care, and it could have been great. As it is, the mediocre movie remains.