September 2006

Arts & Letters

‘2.37’ Directed by Murali K Thalluri

By Owen Richardson

Hi Sally,

Tried to call, but you were out. I really think we need to pass on 2:37.

I found it excruciating - up to and beyond camp, too stuffed with teen-angst clichés (Gay jock! Coercive brother-sister incest!), and derivative both in conception and detail (a little baby Elephant), and because of the circumstances in which it was made, and the subject matter, I don't really want to spend 1200 words going to town on it.

I still think Murali Thalluri's a bit of a legend for getting the thing up, and it's not entirely lacking in merit (I liked some of the performances, and given that he slavishly follows the style of the Gus Van Sant movie, he knows a bit where to put the camera and so on), but to write about it at length would make me feel as if I were marking someone's VCA graduation movie, which is more or less what it looked like to me.

Or, to put it another way, I would feel obliged to be nice about it, for not much better reason than to make myself look nice. As my basic primary response to the film was, unwillingly, satirical (and the people sitting next to me, strangers to me, were also periodically snorting under their breaths), this would put me through the kind of mental gymnastics that writing disingenuously always forces you into.

On the other hand, I could write about it as if it had been made by an experienced, professional, institutionally-backed film-maker, i.e. rip it to shreds, but this would make me look like the guy who puts out poisoned meat for the neighbourhood pets.

This is my dilemma. I need to be freed from it.

Owen Richardson
Owen Richardson is a Melbourne-based critic.

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