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quietearth [Film Festival 06.12.09] movie review comedy drama

Year: 2009
Directors: Jeff Mizushima
Writers: Jeff Mizushima
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: quietearth
Rating: 5 out of 10

Did 3 different people write this film because I'd split it into 3 parts. The first, an attempt at comedy that made me want to laugh, but somehow found myself incapable. The second, a strong, poetic drama complete with overtones of amore. And the last, well I won't give it away but it completed the indecisive nature of the film, that it wasn't sure exactly what it wanted to be. Yeah, I've read the same line in reviews before, but it's appropriate here. Admittedly, there was a couple of zingers in there, but mostly the first third pondered the most subtle of humour, itself unsure of whether it was funny.

Richard, an ineffectual and quiet man has only one friend, a hamster dwarf. The first scene is Richard finding out Etienne (his hamsters name which continuously causes great confusion) has cancer and has to put him to sleep. The hamster is really his only friend, and while at times the film points out this is just an excuse not to have a woman, he really loves the damn thing. His room is covered in a network of gerbil cages, mazes, fish tanks and all sorts of interconnected coolness that would make any 12 year old salivate.

Let's throw in a dumbass roommate who makes crappy techno/death metal music and an uncaring hippie type female co-worker who says "It's only a hamster. I'll buy you a new one!" and Richard decides to outfit his 10-speed to take his hamster across the country. He explains later that it's to "show Etienne the world. He'd do it for me". This is where the only good part of the film starts, in his exploration and encounters with all sorts of people and I can tell you the trailer tells you very little about what happens. It threw me for a loop.

Some of you have probably already thought "heavy homosexual overtones", as when I told friends about Etienne! (I was quite excited to get this one) I would invariably get this response or blank stares, but it's not. The film was about a man's inability to connect with the world around him, his hamster being his beard were he gay.

In another attempt at indy fresca and what my friend called one big "inside joke", Etienne! falls short of something I would recommend. On a side note, I think this was the first film to use hamster stunt doubles.

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