Nocturama ★★½

Filmwelt Filmclub #44 - Nocturama - picked by Kaladin

Well, that's a tough one. Nocturama is a great film in terms of its audiovisual presentation. The soundtrack isn't bad, the camera movements are solid, the colors are a great mix of a hint of neon but also saturated and even certain VFX shots look very decent. On the other hand, the film gave me pretty much nothing.

The first 45 minutes are a bit out of place as an introduction, for instance, they have nothing at all to do with the rest of the film in terms of tone. At the same time, I didn't like them at all, as the atmosphere somehow seems too one-layered. It's difficult to describe, as the whole thing seems empty, contrived, and inconsistent. Additionally, they are way too drawn out. There are about ten shots (probably more) of a character throwing a cell phone into a trash can. These shots are always the same. The camera is about 3-4 meters away from the character, moves steadily backwards and the image is accompanied by bass-heavy, beat-making music. The characters walk similarly, and throw the cell phone into the trash can. It's not a bad way to film this, but after several uses it just seems lazy and uncreative.

That's a shame, because I really like the camera work here. Especially in the second half of the film, in the mall, it can be more "crazy", which it does with Shining references among other things. However, it doesn't work all the way through, as it's always done in hints and never pulled off fully. However, all this is really not that dramatic, since these are now only small points, and most people either won't notice them at all or they won't take anything away from their experience. It's not because of the technical aspects that I didn't like the film that much. It's the pacing. The dialogue is decent, the film has cool moments, and the ending is surprisingly terrific and coherent, but the film nevertheless unfortunately went on for too long and doesn't quite know what it wants to be. This is a bit frustrating, as you can never really settle on anything for long, as by the time you get used to it, the film is already progressing. So much happens in so little time, at the same time so little happens in so much time. As I said at the beginning, tough one.

I could go on and on about the thin characters and so on, but I don't hate the film after all. Audivisually very solid, with some great moments and a very awesome ending, the film is just good enough to have me halfway enjoyed. Still, not for everyone, as the whole thing is more of an experimental approach to what's going on and probably contains a lot of subtext (not that I would have detected much, I can imagine though). However, it was an extraordinary experience and for that alone I don't regret having seen the film. Extraordinary is always better than by formula, and that's one thing that Nocturama fortunately establishes from the start: the film is a standout from the crowd.

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