Friday, 1 July 2016

REVIEW - REMAINDER (OMER FAST)


A most abstruse film, and a most deceptive one. It brandishes its deceptiveness with pride, but that in itself is a deception - the truth, as presented, is necessarily difficult, but as understood is likely very simple. I claim only its likeliness, because I can't claim certainty - Remainder not only deceived me, it confused me, and as intriguing as I found its tricks, as beguiling as I found its tone, it never convinced me as to the worth of its enterprise. Obfuscation, whether intentional or not, is all very well, but there's a ponderousness to Remainder that suggests both that this is a work of much meaning (and, thereby, one which requires a greater degree of comprehension in order to be properly appreciated) and that it has been crafted by real clever-clogs. And, as much as I value a film that leaves a lot for the viewer to deduce, to decide upon for themselves, there are signs here that Remainder is meant to be deduced entirely from its content and its makers' interpretations, not ours, yet it stubbornly refuses to divulge enough of those interpretations to guide our own. A better filmmaker might build around this tease a film of sufficient stylistic strength to justify this refusal; Omer Fast reveals himself to be such a filmmaker only sporadically, which is a quality worth savouring when applied to good uses. The more he delves into the weirdness of his conceit - and that of his protagonist, alluringly alluded to as virtually the same - the more singular, and more satisfying, his film becomes. But a predictability of outcome and of tone stifles the uniqueness of Fast's artistic voice and, thus, the standard of his artistic output. With some excellent ideas, some excellent treatment of those ideas, and an excellent performance by Tom Sturridge, the remainder of Remainder deserves better.