07.29.08

Return to Hitchcockian Values.

It is hard to watch any film without recognizing Hitchcock’s contribution to cinema.  Recently, I have seen two films that adhere closely to his style in a compelling manner. One French film called Roman de Gare has already been receiving much praise, while the other was quite a surprise.

Roman de Gare is the story of a ghostwriter concocting a story for his famous novelist boss. Incorporated into his story is his meeting a young woman who takes him on a strange detour that casts suspicion on his character in the beginning of the film. However nothing is as it seems in this film. The story does not fall into the trap of self-consciousness that is often inherent in “the writer might be writing himself into the story” theme that is becoming so cliché in screenplays. Roman de Gare is intelligently written and fun to follow without being unnecessarily complicated. The twists and turns entertain without insulting the audience. Reminiscent of Hichcock’s ability to cast suspicion on his characters, Roman de Gare is a great film for fans of suspense.

While Roman de Gare plays with elements of suspense and identity, Vacancy is a good old fashion romp with Hitchcockian tension. A real sleeper, Vacancy may have been hard to take seriously with funny man Luke Wilson at the helm and horror movie marketing cheapening the concept. Vacancy may not be ground breaking, but it is loaded with Psycho like tension. A simple plot about rural people fucking with fish out of water travelers carries itself well. While the plot might be a bit contrived, Vacancy delivers on a satisfying level as homage. The characters are slightly more reasonable than the typical deformed weirdoes that people run into in films about country folk being removed from society and turning to some version of cannibalism. The baddies have a somewhat reasonable set up and that makes the movie a little more eerie without the gross out. For what ii is worth, I thought Vacancy was an entertaining watch that doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t. The opening credits are reminiscent of Vertigo and let you know the film intends to wear its influences on its sleeve.

 Roman de Gare French with subtitles and is currently in limited release in theaters. Vacancy is (and has been for a while) in video stores.


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