Monday, January 26, 2015
Sleeping Beauty (2011)
Oh for the love of God, I swear, you could make a movie as grotesquely disturbing and tasteless as possible, and film critics would absolutely love it so long as you include extended tracking shots of characters doing nothing! I'm not even exaggerating! That Snowtown movie from a few years ago was almost entirely comprised of nothing but characters quietly staring into nothing, and that was even how it abruptly and anticlimactically ended! And some consider it to be one of the most disturbing films ever made?! HA! I've got some films involving Nazis eating babies, then torturing women with acid rats made of evil that I'd like to show them! What this is amounting to is that today, I have the utmost displeasure of talking about Australian movie Sleeping Beauty...
Sleeping Beauty is a 2011 Australian film, and it's a total bore! It's trying to be an art critic darling, but rather than do this by presenting legitimate themes and takeaways, it chooses the Gerry way, and is comprised totally but static shots of nothing!
Let's discuss the positives to this movie first. You see Emily Browning naked! YES!...Or rather 'NO!', depending on how much that would ruin your childhood (Browning was one of the leads in the A Series of Unfortunate Events movie). Now, this may seem like an incredibly shallow positive for me to glom onto, but believe me when I say that this movie is so lifeless that even the tiniest positive is a big deal! Not that this is all that big a positive, as this movie is completely unerotic!
Sleeping Beauty is so boring! It even has the innate ability to make me yell "Oh my God, I fucking get it!" when a scene has only just started! The scenes in this movie are so empty and hollow that you can tell from the get-go that they're going to be Crazy Fat Ethel Making Coffee scenes, and it is intolerable!
The movie's plot goes nowhere, culminating in a confusing and abrupt ending.
This story contains no insight or developed themes on the sex industry, or on the personal level of the act. It's just an empty plot point there to carry the film along. This wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing if the movie's target was on something else, but since it's so heavily centred on this industry, yet never really focuses on it, the movie just feels shallow.
There's zero backstories for characters and their situations, they have little dialogue, and nothing to them. The lead character is a completely unlikeable bitch! She's miserable because she gets kicked out of her apartment, even though she burnt hundred dollar bills for fun instead of paying rent! It doesn't make any sense, nor is given any explanation why she would do that, or why she can't pay rent, as she already has a real job! Two in fact! And she gets fired from one near the film's end because she's such a horrid bitch.
There are a multitude of other stupid aspects to Sleeping Beauty, like the scene with the stupid coin toss routine written by a scriptwriter who clearly don't understand the rules of coin tossing (if you clasp your hand over it as it lands, and especially if you also cradle your forearm around a bit, then no-one has reason to believe the result!)
Really idiotic is the job Browning's character takes. It's the most heavily requirement-filled waitressing job I've ever seen! You'd think they were prepping her to become a goddamn secret agent! All a sexy waitress job needs is a woman willing to wear skimpy outfits-Boom, done! This movie treats it as if its the most high-maintenance job in the universe, and that if the shade of your lipstick doesn't match the colour of you labia, then the world is doomed! I'm sure that people who pay to look at naked women really aren't that stingy, especially when they're into the really odd stuff. They'll only care that they're finally touching female skin for a change.
Especially laughable is the advice one worker gives to Emily Browning-"It gets easier. It's never easy, though." It isn't? The only requirement of the job is to stand around naked in a corset and serve drinks!
Sleeping Beauty is clinical in its sexuality, and completely unerotic. I can't even buy the the film's characters would really find any of this shit erotic! So what if you're at a restaurant served by topless women-You're still at a boring dinner function full of dull suits, pretentious food and drink tasting, and dusty small talk! Nothing kills the mood faster than things like that!
The dialogue here is crummy, frequently comes across as forced, and is oftentimes completely and painfully unrealistic! There are also pretentious monologues courtesy of the lead's friend, of such 'riveting' subjects as near extinct rodents who are basically kangaroos. Dude, you're sleeping with a woman for money-Shut your pretentious mouth and just DO it!
The acting in this movie is passable at best! As for its lead, Emily Browning can't act. She got away with the somewhat stoic performance in A Series of Unfortunate Events due to the style of that movie, but here, she's just boring to an unbearable degree. And neither is this a brave or fearless role for her just because she shows her rack. It could be if the film actually had anything of worth, but it doesn't, and she never really does anything. So in short, she stripped buck naked and had an old guy rub his ballsack against her vajayjay for a 97 minute pile of garbage that says nothing and means nothing. To provide a counterpoint, to show that I'm not just 'prejudiced against high art', Sweet Movie is a good example of a similar demand for an actress, but for a film that actually genuinely meant something.
Sleeping Beauty really isn't artistic in any way! It has no deeper meanings or themes that can be drawn from it, nor any symbolism, or anything making it artistic! The only thing even remotely close to meaningful is the old man's monologue about a short story, but even it doesn't count, since it barely plays into the plot, and has nothing to do with the main character! It's just superfluous pretentious waffle! This crap is only art if you consider real-time nothing films like The Brown Bunny, or Gerry to be art, and if you do, then you are in dire need to going to see a real art film!
How is this haunting or artistic? Is the scene of Emily Browning exchanging credit card details in real time really that appealing to some? Does the superfluous scene of her waking up, putting on a pair of panties, then going back to bed represent the shocking frailties of society's treatment towards both the underwear industry, and to night owls?! Does it represent her being a 'sleeping beauty finally waking into the real world'?! Of course not! That latter point is a theme that fans of the movie say it represents, but that's rubbish, as the movie would actually have to be about it first! Take the ending to No Country for Old Men. That monologue from Tommy Lee Jones is important and thematic to his character, and isn't just some out-of-nowhere barely-there 'theme' that you'll only understand by reading a related textbook.
Somehow, and I haven't the foggiest how, Sleeping Beauty won several major awards, including best direction. What direction? The camera is still for most of the running time, so I would hardly refer to Julia Leigh as this movie's director. Cinematographer, yes, Director, fuck no!
Any movie that makes seeing a nude Emily Browning not worth the experience is a poor beast, and that Sleeping Beauty indeed is!...