FEBRUARY 12, 2008
Instead of reading this review, you should go see Spiral, or pre-order the DVD here (it’s only playing in a few cities). You see, Roman is a very similar movie in concept, but on the polar opposite end of the spectrum in execution. Because, while both films are “slow”, Spiral is pretty damn good, and this movie bored the shit out of me, and didn’t look very good either. And it didn’t have Chuck.
Like Spiral, Roman is about a creepy guy who inexplicably draws the attraction of a really hot, spunky girl who might have some mental issues. Unfortunately, the film never once feels like anything but a decent short film that someone decided should be stretched into a feature. So this means we get about 6 scenes of Roman being mocked by his co-workers, 15 scenes of him looking out the window, some 4569766 of him making pork n beans, etc. It’s one thing to draw tension and develop character, but when that character is doing the same thing over and over, it’s not really progressing anything except the audience’s boredom.
Plus, unlike Spiral, there is no mystery as to whether or not Roman is a killer. So I don’t really like him right from the start. Kind of a problem when he’s pretty much the only character in the movie they bother to develop. After he kills a girl (Kristen Bell) early on, another one comes along. She is also annoying, because she’s a hippie who puts twigs and leaves in her hair and makes Roman take her to performance art. Bell wasn’t too bad, but this broad I actually wanted him to kill, so naturally he doesn’t do that. Thanks, movie.
This movie was also shot on DV, so it’s far from enjoyable from an aesthetic point of view either. And what’s with DV filmmakers always having people look into camera and/or shooting entire scenes from one angle? You have unlimited and cheap stock in which to make your film – why not experiment a bit with different angles and such? Director Angela Bettis could have shot this the exact same way on film on a low budget for sure. The commentary doesn’t explain why they used DV, or at least, it didn’t in the time I spent listening to it, which admittedly wasn’t long since it was generally boring “trivia” like “That’s Eddie Steeples, you might know him from the Staples commercial.”
So there’s really not a lot to recommend here. The acting is good, and the end has a nice little twist involving the hippie character’s “art installation”, but that’s not really enough to make up for the snail’s pace, excessive padding, and generally lazy videomaking. I really dug May (which was also written by Lucky McKee), so I was hoping this one would be at least almost as good, but no such luck. If nothing else, it proves that Bettis should star and Lucky should direct (as they did in May), not the other way around.
What say you?