Expectation, expectation, expectation!

After the wonderful Late Night Shopping, director Saul Metzstein has chosen a completely different kind of movie for his second outing. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it should be applauded.

Copy picture

On second thoughts, it should be binned.

Guy X has serious potential. Is it a mystery, a comedy, a thriller or the last instalment of the X-Files? Does that explain the title?

No.

The plot strands are abandoned after the intro, the characters never encouraged to rise above their cardboard, and the script is finally shredded because no one knows how to say goodbye.

And it started so well.

Corporal Rudy Spruance (Jason Biggs) is thrown out of a plane (not from 2000 ft) in Greenland when he was looking forward to a posting in Hawaii. They call him Peterson and he's going, "That's not my name." No one takes a blind bit of notice. He thinks, "I gotta get outta here." He tries. Walking over a mountain only leads to other mountains. He is trapped in an American base in the middle of absolutely nowhere, where the other soldiers appear to be unhinged and the colonel (Jeremy Northam, with a beard and Yank accent) behaves like someone out of Apocalypse Now.

A bunch of eccentrics and paranoid schizophrenics try to make the most of a bad deal, with nothing to do, puffin pie on the menu and a horror flick once a week when the supplies plane arrives. Rudy is invited to start a newspaper, which is like organising a baseball team in a rabbit hole. The stir craziness of the place has considerable appeal, before the hapless reporter/editor/newshound stumbles into an off-limits building and discovers a room full of comatose patients, with no names, on rows of hospital beds.

Having set up an intriguing situation, it is allowed to dissipate. The colonel is obviously hiding something, the patients are victims of an unspecified atrocity, the soldiers are beyond caring and Rudy can't do a damn thing. The plot acts like a sieve. What is Natascha McElhone's role? She's the colonel's secretary, but having a girl this beautiful, surrounded by sex starved soldiers, is naked-flame-in-fireworks-factory material. Except, it's not.

The film flows through the holes until there is nothing left and questions fade into memory, like forgotten dreams, unanswered. The only believable person is Rudy. He's trying to find out what's going on. Just like you.

Guess what? He doesn't.

Snap!

Reviewed on: 23 Aug 2005
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Odd goings on at isolated US base in Greenland, as witnessed by a man with two names.
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Davros ***

Director: Saul Metzstein

Writer: Steve Attridge, John Paul Chapple

Starring: Jason Biggs, Natascha McElhone, Jeremy Northam, Michael Ironside, Sean Tucker, Benz Antoine, Nelson Balderrama, Buck Deachman, Rob deLeeuw, Donny Falsetti, Hilmir Snær Guðnason

Year: 2005

Runtime: 101 minutes

Country: UK/Canada/Iceland/Germany

Festivals:

EIFF 2005

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