Friday, 14 October 2005

Minireview - Napoleon Dynamite ***

The title character is a geeky, freaky high school kid who lives with his older brother (and whatever assorted relative can be bothered to look after the pair of them) in some kind of 1980s timewarp, where life is simpler, fashions are naffer, but the Internet still exists. He has one friend at school and, perplexingly, a girl who may or may not be interested in him - but otherwise, he lives in an isolated bubble, in which he even appears to be mostly free of the kind of torment that one might expect of an uber-geek in an average American high school.

Honestly? I have no idea whether or not I liked this movie. In fact, since I started reviewing every film I watched, I have seen and had an opinion (one way or the other) on more than 300 movies. Until Napoleon Dynamite, I have never come out of a film feeling quite so bewildered. I don't know whether I like the character or whether I'm supposed to be rooting for him. I'm unsure whether I buy the story.

Tacked onto the end of the closing credits is a significant coda - shot some time after the rest of the film - which subtly shifts the perspective we have on several key characters. It's a self-consciously odd thing to do at the end of a film that is inherently basking in its own oddness. For this reason alone, it fails to work effectively as either a comedy or a drama.

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