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quietearth [Celluloid 03.20.08] movie review thriller

Year: 2008
Release date: Unknown
Director: Alexis Alexiou
Writer: Alexis Alexiou
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: quietearth
Rating: 5 out of 10

Tale 52 explores the workings of a sick man caught in a world he has no control over. He has headaches, but doesn't like medication. He seems to travel in time, but he doesn't have a machine. He is single at the beginning of the film, but the whole story hinges on his lover and soon to be live-in-girlfriend Penelope, whose name is innocent and somehow appropriate for the overall gesture. It should be noted that on their first night, the bottle of wine they are drinking has a date stamped on it 4 months in the future, and this foreshadows what's to come.

In the beginning, the main character Iasonas, is having a dinner party and he presumably gets set up with Penelope, who after a fast forward, moves in with him 2 months later. All the while Iasonas is having vicious headaches which is accompanied by some really annoying camera work, that vibrates and focuses in and out very rapidly, to portray what he's going through. His attitude is very argumentative and sickly, and for some reason she hangs around even though he's obviously going down hill. One morning, she heads off to the store for a thermometer, and when Iasonas wakes up, she's gone and so are all of her things. This is the last point at which we can find any real coherency in the film.

After a a dull stint of some serious confusion, the film makes a rapid turn into what I'd like to call a "Replay". Now this is where I really perked up.

One of my favorite books is called, you guessed it, "Replay", and in it, a man is catapulted backwards in time to his younger self, but with knowledge of what has happened in the intervening years. He's not stuck reliving history, he can actively change it, like winning millions on the Kentucky Derby. Iasonas does this replay thing a couple of times, trying to stop Penelope from leaving. The first time, he doesn't even get past the first dinner-date they have he is acting so erratic, and so that storyline ends there. But does this provide the solution to what's going on? I don't think so, but to be honest I can't really tell.

After the replays it cuts in and out between story lines sometimes even intermingling them so any possibility at following things (and I do love vague plots that allow you to fill in your own details) was impossible for me. In one scene, Iasonas opens his bathroom cabinet to loads and loads of drugs, but he doesn't like pills! One of the many things is Lithium, commonly used for bi-polor disorder, so what's going on?

As much as I wanted to like this film, and as talented as I think writer/director Alexis Alexiou is, it just got bogged down in it's complete lack of coherency. In fact, it makes me think of Spiral, both of these films setting out to accomplish a very classic storyline but unfortunately, they fell short. I will say however that I will be watching Alexis's future work because I'm expecting great things from him.

As far as the cinematography goes, Tale 52 uses a drab understated look with lots of skewed angles and tight camera work. It was visually luscious; for instance, in the beginning of the film, Iasonas is cooking dinner they used shots from inside the ceiling to show the narrow space available in the kitchen, it even had the ceiling lamp fixture in the immediate foreground (and in fact this type of shot is used frequently)! The cinematographer, Christos Karamanis, also made heavy use of shadow and natural lighting, furthering the confusing atmosphere. But this was the beginning, and after a while this style becomes flat because we're confined only to an apartment.

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agentorange (14 years ago) Reply

Visually, this film looks amazing. Too bad Alexiou couldn't pull the story together.

I'm assuming you're talking about Ken Grimwood's "Replay" which I haven't yet read but have been meaning to. Now I think I will.


quietearth (14 years ago) Reply

Yup, it's by Ken Grimwood..

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