Saturday, 9 January 2010

Surveillance - review


Surveillance is a 2008 movie produced by Jennifer Lynch, daughter of the legendary David Lynch(Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks, etc.) and is only her second film after a long gap –the break apparently being due to the critical mauling accorded to her first, which I haven’t seen. But although it is very gruesome indeed, Surveillance gripped me from start to finish.

On the surface, it’s a conventional enough story about crazed serial killings in a sunny American state. A rural police station finds itself invaded by a smooth man and his admiring female associate – evidently, the FBI have come to town, and the scene is set for a clash of cultures, as it becomes clear that the local cops are corrupt, and have been having themselves a fine old time terrorising innocent characters who stray into their path.

But one of the cops has now been murdered by the serial killers, and his partner has survived, although he is injured. As the two agents interrogate a group of witnesses, the sequence of events is told through flashbacks, and it becomes apparent that a young girl whose family has been killed holds the key to the mystery. This is still a conventional set-up, but Lynch has a very effective twist up her sleeve, and the ending of the film (after more gory scenes) is very troubling.

Not everyone will like this film, but I was impressed, almost despite myself. Surveillance isn’t for the faint-hearted, but it’s a relatively original, and rather memorable, piece of work. Bill Pullman and Julia Ormond are the stars, but the cast as a whole performs with gusto.

6 comments:

Deb said...

I think Lynch's first movie was "Boxing Helena" which I never saw, so I can't pass any critical judgment, but it was about a man who kidnaps a woman and removes her arms and legs so he can keep her in a box. (All together now: Eeeeuuuwwww!)

"Boxing Helena" is remembered more for the fact that Kim Bassinger was scheduled to star in it and then backed out--causing a number of lawsuits, eventually requiring Bassinger to file for bankruptcy.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hiya Martin,

I enjoyed the film myself and would have probably said it was original if I wasn't aware of her fathers work. The movie tried to take us into David Lynch's world and not Jennifers... that was my view on watching it anyhow.

Best Wishes

Shane

Margot Kinberg said...

Martin - When Surveillance first came out, I debated whether to see it, because I confess to a preference for movies that aren't overly graphic. In the end, I decided against seeing it for that reason. Your review, though, is making me think that maybe I should give it a try. I do like original films t hat have good twists to them. Hmmmm...

harriet said...

Sounds like the sort of film I'd enjoy -- I'm a huge fan of David Lynch so must definitely try this.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks for these comments. Margot, it is definitely gruesome! But I do think it is good.

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Deb. I'm not sure I will be in a hurry to watch that one!