Eye For Film >> Movies >> Life Track (2007) Film Review
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
Talking of odd, Life Track takes the biscuit.
A man without arms lives alone in a shack, overlooking electricity pylons. His ability to cope is extraordinary. Watch him roll a cigarette with his toes and you understand the extent of his talent. After this, putting on clothes and doing ordinary tasks around the house is a doddle. Except it’s not, because everything he does takes thought, concentration and perfect timing. Having toes like fingers is a help, but it’s not an exact replica. They are in the wrong place, for a start.
This is not a documentary. There is a storyline, however faint. The man is suspicious of strangers and, like a wild creature, shy of human contact. When a mute girl appears at his door in the night during a thunder storm, he allows her in. He doesn’t know why she’s running and she can’t tell him. Later, you discover the reason.
The girl is sensitive to his need for privacy. He doesn’t talk and she can’t. The only spoken words come from the television. They are locked into silence. She is respectful. He is nervous that she might infringe his physical space. She has heart; he has fears. They move incredibly slowly towards an understanding.
Jin Guang-hao does not entirely overcome the problems he sets himself. The freak show element is never far from the surface of the plot, if, indeed, there is one. The man’s character is not explored. He remains opaque, pensive, troubled. His face is etched with pain. No explanation, no clue. At one moment, without warning, there is an old woman lying on a mattress in the shack, dying. The mute girl kneels beside her, stroking her brow. Who is she? Why is she? Where is the man?
Questions rustle like leaves across the floor of the film, as a camera follows the movement of figures in landscape. The editor has been given the night off. Every scene continues beyond its expected time.
Somewhere, somewhere… the seed of a story takes root.
Can you wait that long?Reviewed on: 22 Jun 2008