I read the description of this film on the DVD box and became so
apprehensive that the disc sat on my desk for six days before I watched it.
The cause of my dread? First of all, the entire 84-minute film is presented in split screen,
so the cinematography consists of 168 minutes worth of almost
perfectly square images. Second, the entire film is fundamentally a
single conversation between two people, so it's essentially a long one-act play. Not much potential for cinema greatness here, thought I.
I was wrong. First of all, I wasn't thinking straight. My two
concerns were contradictory. Once you accept that the entire film
two people talking to one another, the split-screen concept seems like
a very smart idea. After all, what is the point of a single widescreen
image of two people talking indoors? It's not even possible to show both of
their faces - unless one splits the screen with simultaneous images
from two cameras, thus allowing the audience to see their
reactions as well as their dialogue. When you think about it, that
exactly the right way to film a single extended conversation.
The technique also works very well for some flashbacks in which the
same characters are shown as they are now and as they were in the
past. In these instances the square images provide rather ungainly
framing for the action, with people falling out of the picture here
and there, but what those scenes lose pictorially they gain
thematically by showing the past and present together. I ended up
concluding that the film could not have been anywhere near as good without the
dual images. And I normally hate split screens.
As for the conversation itself - well, not many scripts could pull
off such a narrowly circumscribed conceit, but this one does. There are four good reasons.
First of all, the dialogue is clever and witty. Second, the audience
slowly becomes aware that there are secrets to be revealed, thus
upping the ante on viewer involvement. Third, the characters are
not only witty, but also interesting and vulnerable, and we want to
know more about them. (It doesn't hurt that the actors are also
competent and attractive.) Fourth, the running time is short enough to
keep our eavesdropping from becoming tiresome.
Two thirty-something strangers meet at a wedding. They flirt
You know what? I'm not going to tell you any more, because one of
the pleasures this film offers is a gradual revelation that the two
people are not what they initially seem to be, and if I tell
you any of the hows and whys, I'll spoil your fun. If the premise
doesn't leave you claustrophobic, you will probably find yourself
liking this movie about love and regret, as I did in spite of my initial
If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to
explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by
our definition, a
C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs
and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a: