Eye For Film >> Movies >> Surf And Turf (2008) Film Review
Surf And Turf
Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson
Surf + Turf's archness is in part a product of its willingness to let its subjects speak for themselves. "whether you want to call it that or not, we've always had a class system in America". The third part of Abigail Child's Suburban Trilogy pays close attention to the community of Deal, New Jersey. It's uncomfortable viewing, sometimes literally so, as pictures flash by with stroboscopic intensity, but more often than not the discomfiture is emotional.
Deal is a strange place. "It's the jewel of the Jersey shore," we're told, a community with standards, and beaches, not as diverse as the massive variety of houses would suggest. There are tensions between the town's two Jewish communities, the Ashkenazai who settled in the town early and the Sephardic families who have transplanted their neighbourhoods from the five boroughs of New York to the sands and suburban streets of Deal. There are discussions of the difference between religion and custom, of public and private, of the labels that communities use among themselves - it's odd enough to hear people talking about 'the Syrians at the Casino', even more odd as we start to see formal portraits of New York at play. History becomes tradition becomes expedience, and then there are the fences.
We see into kitchens, swimming pools, corner stores, there's knitting and construction and gossip, strip malls and basketball driveways, all the touchstones of suburban American as an obfuscatory layer of communities engaged in something for which conflict is too strong a word, and yet not strong enough. Sharp intercuts and Floyd Fisher's music contribute to the tension. Yet it's the people themselves, the situation, the odd stresses. Statements like "as homemakers they are actualised as people" are made, and even before an audience can try to place the sentiments bound up within that we've got another large garden, a question about when the wedding is, another angle. Public, private, personal, powerful, dissimilar and distressing at times. After the first two chapters it manages another angle on its subject, another set of sights and sounds that suggests and surprises.Reviewed on: 17 Jul 2012
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