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Saturday, June 20, 2009

SURVEILLANCE

By D.E.Levine

Director: Jennifer Chambers Lynch
Executive Producer: David Lynch
Screenplay: Kebt Harper and Jennifer Chambers Lynch
Cast: Julia Ormond, Bill Pullman, Pell James, Ryan Simpkins, French Stewart, Kent Harper, et al
Running Time: 97 Minutes
Country of Origin: USA and Germany
Language: English
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

A pair of FBI investigators, played by Bill Pullman and Julia Ormond, visit the sheriff's station in prairie town to help solve some grisly murders. They've spent months tracking a pair of serial killers and haven't had much success apprehending them. Some of the scenes are mundane interaction between local territorial cops and federal agents who dislike each other. The characters all seem despicable.

Setting up recording equipment they embark on interviews of three surviving witnesses who include a police officer from the station, a young female drug addict and a child. The interviews seem normal, although there are some interesting interchanges between the agents.

Each of the witnesses has something to hide as shown in flashbacks where we see that they are lying during the interviews. A highway massacre brought the witnesses together, and the massacre is shown in gory detail. There are some real moments of tension as the flashbacks show various forms of violence that took place involving the various witnesses and their companions. Some of the filming is reminiscent of David Lynch's techniques and one has to assume that Ms. Lynch is paying homage to her father.

Ms. Lynch proves adept at using different visual schemes and colors. The massacre with vivid blood colors takes place against the washed out colors of the wide open desert, bleak and stark with it's distant horizon. The police station scenes are claustrophobic and have greenish overtones. The cops all seem to be corrupt.

Lynch pushes the themes of sex and death and perversity beneath normal surfaces. There is an unexpected twist that changes the story in several ways making viewers realize that many of the plot points have been false and misleading, ripe with cheap scares and tactics typical of mainstream crime films.

Just as we grow comfortable feeling we know what's happened, everything changes. Ms. Lynch is not as polished as her father but she throws some interesting twists and turns into the story to enhance the plot and leave the viewers stunned.