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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 12.05.11] Canada review thriller

Year: 2011
Director: Randall Cole
Writer: Randall Cole
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Marina Antunes
Rating: 7 out of 10

Most of the found footage films we've seen to date feature footage where the individuals in question knew they were on tape but Randall Cole's foray into the found footage thriller takes a different approach which leads to some unexpected difficulties including the fact that we don't know why James and Amy are being targeted. It turns out that this questions isn't even of great importance.

388 Arletta Avenue stars Nick Stahl and Mia Kirshner as James and Amy, a young couple sharing a home in a quiet neighbourhood. James works in advertising while Amy is finishing her masters degree and the two seem happy but when things start happening without apparent explanation, their relationship starts to strain. It begins with a CD which appears in James car. He questions Amy about it, she swears she didn't make it for him and the two have an argument, the first of many in the coming days. James is sure he's being made the fool but eventually drops the subject until the next event leads to a heated argument. He apologises in his own way but when Amy disappears the strained relationship takes yet another step down the rocky road. He's furious that she's taken off without warning and calls around to her girlfriends and family trying to find out where she's hiding but the calls only reveal that Amy's family isn't too fond of James. Anger quickly turns to fear as strange things keep happening at home and soon, James is obsessed with the idea that someone is stalking him and that Amy has been taken.

Cole's foray into the thriller is impressive. 388 Arletta Avenue sticks so closely to the idea that the entire story be told through surveillance cameras that the film doesn't even have traditional opening titles. From the moment we see the first image shot from the inside of a car, the story develops through the surveillance cameras and as such, there isn't much room for exposition. We do get to see and hear some exchanges between the characters but often, as is the case when James goes to his sister-in-law's looking for Amy, the audio is muffled and we aren't privy to the entire exchange.

The film is well edited, jumping between the various cameras and providing a good sense of James' unravelling. Even the editing is explained, sort of, with the film's final scene; it's a well developed and thought out script and though the story moves at a good pace, it does drag a bit in the middle as James tries, unsuccessfully, to figure out who is responsible for the unravelling of his life.

Kirshner is hardly in the story and the script relies heavily on Stahl to carry the film and he does so admirably. His erratic behaviour as the mystery develops isn't only apparent in his actions but also in his physique. There's a warn and almost hysterical look on his face for a large part of the film which combined with the progressively more disturbing events, lends an air of desperation to the story.

Though I found it lagged in places and ran a little long, 388 Arletta Avenue is an entertaining and unique entry into a familiar genre. It certainly helps that the film's last ten minutes are fantastic.

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agentorange (10 years ago) Reply

This sounds interesting and I like Stahl. I'm in.


apostolos (10 years ago) Reply

my kind of movie.cant see the trailer

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