Eye For Film >> Movies >> Quadrangle (2009) Film Review
Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson
Four points, certainly, but far from 'square'. Two couples meet, two couples split, two new couples form. It's not a new story, but in these circumstances it's a surprising one, not because of those involved, but because of the order - the simultaneity, the titular quadrangle.
They meet at a yacht club in the late Sixties, a time of "experimentation". Deanna and Eleanor and Robert and Paul, married, children, inseparable. Becalmed, stranded, stuck on a sandbar in a yacht things... change, stick, settle.
Amy Grappell's film is visually, technically striking, a splitscreen with two people, driving, talking. The sound cuts between them as they tell the same story from two perspectives, home movies and still photographs. She's got an amazing eye, moments found and captured, the two of the four talking silently, about, almost to, through and past each other. History replicated in the editing suite, composition compelling, illuminating.
There's psychoanalysis; a shot of a bookcase with Reich's "The Function Of The Orgasm" centred, the utopian notion that "people will live this way in the future" - married, sharing across, the cars in the driveway, swapping bedrooms when the children had gone to sleep. "Did you know?", they ask Amy, near the end. Conversations recalled, memories from either side, "describe yourself as a foodstuff" and the not unexpected conflict between 'sour cream' and 'peach melba', slips of language revealing more than they might - one pair "made love", the other "had sex". Regrets, recriminations, interest from the swingers, neighbourhood prurience and scuttlebutt, and holding them together, habit, love, and the children. Ring-fingers seen, asynchronous journeys become simultanous narrative, opening and closing with the same still of a cul-de-sac. It's a portrait of the times as well, the group therapy sessions, the fallouts, free-love filtered through upper-middle-class suburbia.
Only two of the four speak, but that's enough, the relationship between two corners implying the shape. Grappell's film is studied, expert, fair - not condemnatory, nor exculpatory.Reviewed on: 29 Jun 2010