A Glass of Chianti

Friday, August 26, 2005

Movie: The Five Obstructions

I remember reading Victor Morton's review of this movie after he saw it up in Toronto. It was cautionary ("THE FIVE OBSTRUCTIONS is not a film for everyone") and went on to describe why it was, indeed, not for everybody. Everything he said, however, made it seem like the perfect Sarah movie.

It wasn't. My problems with it are twofold:

1. The film can't decide whether it is about the process of coming up with the obstructions or the ultimate results of the obstructions. Tthe von Trier/Leth dynamic is incredibly compelling, but the only real interaction we get is after the second obstruction where Leth is defending his breaking of the rules. More of that interaction and less of the "making-of" featurettes before the final products would have been a great movie.
2. Because we never see the full short that inspired this theme-and-variations play, you have to reconstruct what it might be so that the movie premise makes sense. My problem is that the "Perfect Human" short I constructed in my head from the excerpts shown is a whole lot more interesting than the real "Perfect Human." Watching the short after seeing The Five Obstructions (it's an extra on the DVD) was a big lesson in leaving well enough alone for me.

I'm glad this was my free rental this week. I'm taking comfort in the fact that I didn't invest anything other than time to watch this. I didn't hate it, but it did greatly frustrate me. I'm going back to imagining conservative porn.