Monday, January 17, 2011

girl on film: screen vs stage rabbits

Yesterday I was über-productive all afternoon while camped out at Alterra Prospect. I decided I would reward myself by catching a movie. In my recent trips to the cinema, I've seen like 1,000 previews for Rabbit Hole so I got it in my head that I'd go check it out. Plus, I've really enjoyed John Cameron Mitchell's two other films, so it would be worth a shot.

I had thought it was playing just around the corner at the Oriental, so was a little bummed I had to trek up in the cold to the Downer, but it's always nice to take myself out, so why not.  I made it to the theater in just the nick of time, already convinced I'd missed some of the start. Previews were still rolling, so I settled in.

To be honest, this one just didn't do it for me. And the main reason? It happens every once in awhile, but sometimes it's just too obvious that a film was adapted from a play. I actually felt the same way about Closer a few years ago, even though many people really loved that it just didn't make the jump from stage to screen for me, and it made it about 10x better than Rabbit Hole did.

I suppose what made it more noticeable was that some scenes seemed really cinematic, but then the next one you'd get into these really intimate ones where you could just sense the theatricality overpowering the celluloid. Then it just seemed awkward. Also, like a play, it was a very "scene" based film, if that makes sense. The director did make an effort to transition with some lovely, simple cinematography, but it didn't have the right effect for me.

The performances were strong, but again, more for the stage than the screen.

The one takeaway I did get though was that I'd very much like to see this on stage. I can't even imagine how intense it would be live. The relationships between characters are so complex and some of the scenes would just have me squirming I'm sure. On screen, not so much.

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