Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Monkey's Mask |
Actors: Susie Porter, Kelly McGillis, Marton Csokas, Abbie Cornish, William Zappa
Director: Samantha Lang
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
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Good erotic thriller is somewhat eroded by pretense
BD Ashley | Otago, New Zealand | 05/04/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Based on the book by Dorothy Porter, THE MONKEY'S MASK is a watchable but also rather pretentious "erotic" mystery.
When a literature student Mickey (Abbie Cornish) goes missing, the girl's parents hire lesbian PI Jill Fitpatrick (Susie Porter- I'm not sure if she's any relation to the author) to try and locate their daughter. The only evidence of her last appearance is a videotape of Mickey reading a sexually explicit feminist poem, which will offend prudes, but which personally I found quite amusing. They're just words, after all.
To try and piece together the clues as to Mickey's whereabouts Jill interviews the girl's lecturer Diana (Kelly McGillis) who has actually been encouraging her students to write like that. I wish my teachers had been that cool. Pretty soon Diana becomes the prime suspect. However Jill finds herself attracted to Diana; who is a straight married woman, and soon the pair begin an elicit affair which puts the whole case in jeopardy.
This Australian film is a bit pretentious, as with a lot of "art" movies, but THE MONKEY'S MASK does manage to keep viewers watching with its plot twists and tricky camerawork. It gets a few demerit points for the amount of awful poetry in the film, but on the plus side there are numerous lesbian scenes between McGillis and Porter. DVD extras include a short film by the movie's director, Samantha Lang, a Dorothy Porter interview and a reading from the book (which I found boring), as well as cast and crew bios and samples of songs from the movie's soundtrack.
THE MONKEY'S MASK is a good movie, but personally I found the poetry irritating. But that's just me, so if you enjoy and appreciate poetry, you'll probably raise my rating by 1 star. I'm just an uncultured chump anyway."
An Intriguing Look on Sexuality and Detective Story
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 02/19/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Jill (Susie Porter, to be seen in "Episode II") is a female PI, out-of-work She gets a job to investigate the case about a missing college student Mickey, who was majoring in modern poetry. As she has an interview with Mickey's instructor Diana, she immediately falls in with her, but while their relationships start, Mickey's dead body is found. Now Jill faces a series of secret that lurk in the narrow society of poets and intellectuals. Samantha Lang's new film is, like her previous one "Well," about the surpressed emotions among the people, but this time she takes up Dorothy Porter's cult book as her text. On the surface, the film follows a murder case, but the director gives twists to the conventions of traditional film noir to create a unique private detective in Jill. So, she is clad in black leather jacket; doesn't like living in a city; is a lesbian, and has a friend of Australian aboliginal people. (I almost forgot to say it is shot in Australia.) But, she has a conventional background also, like, she was a retired cop, had a bad memory in police work, and heartily dislikes her former co-worker and doesn't hesitate to show it before him. I leave other details to your observations, but I believe you understand the basic point of the film. Those who have read Sara Paretsky, Sue Grafton, or Val McDermid (the last especially) might be interested.As far as these elements go, "The Monkey's Mask" is very interesting. It cleverly subverts some rules of the crime novels, and it is certain that Jill is convincingly realized thanks to Porter's good performance. However, the poetry part of the film leaves much to be desired. Though I agree poems and words could be potentially dangerous, the film's way of treating poetry is, to me, too incredible and preposterous. But the most incredible thing is the awfulness of the poetry Mickey recites before video camera. I am not an expert of poetry, but that those words are praised is just ... unbelievable. No Plath nor Dickinson. (Sorry I can't cite them for obvious reasons.) Moreover, the film's murder mystery is not a difficult one to solve; well, that's not the problem, but the conclusion is too bland, and Jill uses a too familiar way of solving the case. Those things, besides too much nudity, detract the film's original merits of establishing a new type of detective and diminishes the issue of sexuality it tries to deal with. Maybe I'm mistaken, but I watched it twice, so I hope I am right in pointing out these matters. The film, in conclusion, has very intriguing setting, but overall too confused.I may sound disappointed, and I really was, but that shouldn't mislead you to think that it is a total mess. Its artificial production is memorable, and probably it makes you think. "The Monkey's Mask" is worthy of our attention, but perhaps should be better with a different script or direction.The title "The Monkey's Mask" comes from Japanese haiku poet Basho Matsuo's haiku (traditional Japanese-style short poetry), written in 1693. Wearing a mask cannot hide monkey's (or our)nature."
Mel K | Los Angeles, CA United States | 10/28/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"frankly, I just wanted to see this film for its eroticism, which I heard was incredible. but the story is actually a pretty entertaining one, albeit slow at times. i expected little, got more than i thought, but still, this flick is an easy rental at best. those are my two cents...."
Painful Dialogue, Predictable and Slow
Mel K | 09/17/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"What a mess of a movie that likely had good intentions at the start..The dialogue is painful and cliche, the movie is slooow, the story predictable...an average mystery (thus makes it somewhat worth seeing...as was the organization of the film, though too sloow), it has an underlying lesbian theme, but the women had no chemistry,zero, had it not been that their clothes were off, you'd think they were just aquaintances....I don't reccommend this film too highly..friends came over my home and saw it, and were dissappointed as I was to show it (I warned them) It was nice to see Kelly McGillis playing the bisexual predator english professor, every young coed's fantasy..but even McGillis was held hostage by the material, primarily the screenplay...
Best to rent.."