Sunday, September 21, 2008

Beauty in the Monotony

I hadn't even heard of Day Night Day Night (Julia Loktev, 2007) until Nick Flicks Picks put it on its Top 10 list for 2007 and even then, although he usually has excellent taste, I wasn't exactly rushing to the nearest Blockbuster to rent it. It wasn't until I saw an excellent, curiosity-raising trailer on some random DVD over the summer that really peaked my interest that I decided to put it on my Must See list that's a mile long. When I went to the video store on Thursday, my intention was to find Les Chanson d'Amour, a movie I thought had been released to DVD over the summer but apparently isn't coming out until November (according to Amazon), but when I couldn't find it, I picked up Day Night Day Night and I must say that I wasn't disappointed.

Let me start off by saying that this film isn't for everyone. I don't want to say that you're stupid and ignorant if you don't "get" this film (especially since I'm not really sure if I grasped the enormity of it myself) and its slow rhythm and pace isn't intended for today's fanboy generation, but, if you give it the time it deserves, Day Night Day Night is an incredibly rewarding experience.

Luisa Williams, in an impressive Falconetti-esque performance of epic proportions, plays an unnamed girl who has, for some mysterious reason, decided to become a suicide bomber. She sits in a hotel, makes a recruiting video, tries on a bomb and walks around NYC trying to find the right place to detonate the bomb; that's all that really happens, plot wise, during the 90 minute runtime. What makes Day Night Day Night so special is the manner in which Loktev decides to tell the story. Instead of going after the larger issues that surround terrorism and suicide bombing that someone like Oliver Stone would have gone full force after, Loktev gives the "minor" details major attention, finding beauty in the monotony of taking a bath, eating an egg roll or walking along the sidewalk.

The most interesting moment of this film is when Williams is deliberating when to set off the bomb in her backpack at a NYC crosswalk and the camera cuts around to each individual doing random, inane things like talk on their cell phones or check their nails. Loktev heightens the tension incredibly, almost to the point where I couldn't stand it and all I could do was stare at the screen wondering when the bomb was going to go off. The way Loktev is able to play with our emotions so ably using such simple devices is nearly unthinkable and a true testament to her talent: she is definitely one to look out for in the future. B+

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