Monday, 2 January 2012

Faces in the Crowd

Milla Jovovich, the star of the Resident Evil series, stars in this new DVD release about a woman who has a rare illness and yet is victim to those around her.

Anna Marchant is a primary school teacher who after witnessing a brutal attack is diagnosed with 'prosopagnosia' a real-life neurological disorder that can be called face blindness.  This does not mean that she is face blind per se, but actually people look different every time she sees them. This leads to her being unable to trust people around herself, and unable to identify the killer.

The high concept is a hark back to the 1990s thrillers of Basic Instinct and Blink (1994), the aforementioned Stowe thriller - yet it seems transported from that with jumpy cutting and histrionic performances, bad production design and bad gender politics; we have all seen so many of these films that we think the killer could be anyone of the people she meets, even the law enforcement individuals, this generic convention is not helped by the casting of Julian McMahon (Dr. Doom in Fantastic Four) as the police officer who can help her.

However, for all the high concept and possible good fortune in having an idea that could be executed, the film has very little tension and thrilling moments.  The film fails to liven up until the ending, which itself is somewhat telegraphed and has a whiff of inevitability about it.

The film is only 78 minutes but instead of being brisk it drags and rightly is only being released on DVD in this country.  Jovovich's hordes of devoted fans may help turn a profit on home entertainment releases, yet maybe she should stick to the computer games and not the high concept thrillers.

If you want to see a film that stylistically and credibly uses a neurological disorder as the foundation for a good film, seek out Agnosia or Julia's Eyes  - both foreign language films but worth the watch.

Faces in the Crowd is released on DVD (£15.99) and Blu-Ray (£19.99) on January 9th from Metrodome Entertainment.

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