The Canyons ★★½

Tracking surfaces
With Fassbinderesque distance
Followed to its bitter end.
A concept more than an execution.

For a while, the ultimate deconstruction of Entourage, or a film about those who went to Hollywood after watching Entourage. Everything "sucks" in Schrader's world - dialogue is stilted and static, the frames are over-lit or over-exposed, and tracking shots aren't used to dazzle the world as Schrader's former collaborator Scorsese uses them, but simply because it's all we have left to do. Opening scene tantalizes with its characters staring right at at the screen (just because) and then makes one curious remark on digital culture when Deen decides to not film his own porn but someone watching him and Lohan fuck (this is the post-meta I think Sam Mac is getting at). But all the other text message plots and throwaway lines about private lives are really no better than that really terrible Time Magazine article about Millennials. Lohan's truly In a Lonely Place as she quotes Bogie by looking back in the mirror, but the melodrama is no longer a mode of engagement but a perfunctory method of narrative to get us through the days of the week, as Schrader notes to us. At first one might be quick to call Schrader's adaptation of Ellis's rather silly script almost Fassbinder-ian in its Brechtian distance, but the distance doesn't do anything except act as distance. And that's the entire film right there - a series of concepts and ideas, but one that is almost supposed to look better in pre-production and New York Times articles than actually sitting through the damn thing. Perhaps the point at the end of the day was the event of the film of The Canyons than actually the film The Canyons, so I guess Schrader and Ellis win.

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