Thursday, 4 August 2016

REVIEW - INTO THE FOREST (PATRICIA ROZEMA)


Insipid sci-fi from Patricia Rozema, the product of little more than a good idea, but what good is a good idea anyway if it's not one's own? Rozema peers into an impending future of technological over-reliance and purports to examine the consequences of returning to reality for a generation raised in a vicarious, virtual realm... or so that idea goes. Instead, Into the Forest drops its societal and psychological subtexts early on and never even threatens to pick them back up again; this is a physical, sensory, real-world film with all too much understanding of its own world and all too little of ours. Rozema crafts that world out of stylistic banalities, crude and familiar, her concept of sensory expression built upon old sensations employed to communicate new experiences. For a concept predicated upon its originality, although largely bereft of it, it's remarkable how little original thought is placed in its execution here, although not surprising. The only real surprises in Into the Forest occur when its characters display independent agency, intriguing breaks from formula that nevertheless always manage to conform to some standard of some genre of film or another. In basic terms, much of what happens here stretches credibility, and much of what these characters make happen utterly shatters it. This story may be only a fanciful prediction, a far-fetched warning, but that it might hold any meaning at all, it needs to forge meaningful connections with the world as we, the audience, know it - connections Rozema tries earnestly to forge, but unsuccessfully. Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood make the most of the material, but provide nothing spectacular enough to make this sorry film worth sitting through.