Waz

waz.jpg
The Weinstein Company
Tom Shankland/United Kingdom-United States 2007

Not so much in the shadow of Se7en as smothered by it, Waz takes a potentially intriguing premise and hammers it into the narrow confines of several other familiar films until the broken bits are piled up on the floor.

The plot hinges on a scientific equation that supposedly proves people are basically bastards, but every time the film tries to go somewhere with this idea it turns out to involve characters being wired into traps on loan from Saw. When an actual twist crops up late in the game, its sexual dimension is illustrated by a spot of penis torture, apparently a theme of this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival.

And most of all, director Tom Shankland goes in for maximum continuous camera wobble, a trait dubious enough in the Hollywood mainstream but which suits mid-Atlantic indie fare not at all. The unsteady cam is laid on so thick that it goes beyond a style and just turns into an affectation. Likable actors like Stellan Skarsgard and Melissa George can be glimpsed amid the vibrations, but the reveal of the imported American playing the killer is an odd surprise; surely she was the 25th name on the short list, whatever the production notes say. I wanted to like the film, I really did, but it’s a hard slog.

© 2007 Tim Hayes. All rights reserved.

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