Thursday, 26 August 2010

Predicament: Movie Review

Predicament: Movie Review

Rating: 5/10
Cast: Jemaine Clement, Tim Finn, Hayden Frost, Heath Franklin, Rose McIver
Director: Jason Stutter
Adapted from the novel by New Zealand author Ronald Hugh Morrieson, this is the tale of naive teen Cedric Williamson (newcomer Hayden Frost).
Cedric is bullied at school and has an odd family life (to say the least). His father (Tim Finn) is building an enormous tower in their front yard from rubble, as he copes with the loss of his wife.
One day Cedric meets Mervyn Toebeck (Heath Franklin aka comedian Chopper) and the pair forms a friendship, with Mervyn abusing the bond to bludge off Cedric and his family.
When pasty white oddball Spook (Jemaine Clement) shows up, the trio hits upon the idea of blackmailing the locals - and Cedric's determined to use the scheme to get revenge against the Bramwells (the developers who stole his family land).
But things go more than awry.
Predicament aims for Gothic comedy and tries to reveal the seedy underbelly of the New Zealand small-town community - but it doesn't quite make it.
With scams aplenty, suspicion, paranoia and oddball characters, it is really a reviewing predicament too. Clement is great as Spook, the nasally weird character who trots out some bizarre lines here and there; Franklin is good as the confidence trickster Mervyn - who adds "old son" to every sentence - but Hayden Frost has a lot to carry with the film and sadly falls a little short of the mark.
His Cedric is a stuttering, blinking nerd who you're never really 100% behind - and when the tension and drama steps up, his character tends to resort to facial tics. To be fair, some of this may be due to the direction rather than Frost's interpretation.
What is wonderful about this film though is the look and feel - its creepy, Gothic small-town look is brilliantly evocative and a tribute to the recreation of 1930s Taranaki. Also it puts me in mind of Tim Burton's best at times.

Overall, I have mixed feelings about Predicament - I think there will be some who will adore all of it from beginning to end and there will be others (like myself) who are just a little disappointed with what's seen on the screen.

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