Monday, January 12, 2009

Ghost Town

2008, US, directed by David Koepp
No matter how good a filmmaker's intentions, it can be hard to escape genre conventions, though David Koepp tries mightily for most of his film's running time, preserving the improbably-named Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais, playing very much to Office-type) as a truly obnoxious human being as long as he possibly can before bowing to the inevitable. Still, before getting to that point he's occasionally able to mine something deeper, identifying a deep, and affecting, strain of loneliness, in Gervais's character; it emerges, for instance, in a striking shot of Pincus surrounded by darkness, framed almost like a Rembrandt painting. Koepp makes good use of his camera in the early going, too, particularly in a scene crammed into a tiny hospital office as Pincus's life spirals crazily out of control, though he can barely move a muscle; the verbal back and forth in the same sequence is beautifully timed, as though the words simply don't have the room to emerge in the cramped space.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States