Before the screening of ’Better Things’ at the London Film Festival, Duane Hopkins spoke about the what had motivated him when making the film. He started by saying he wanted to get away from using plot and narrative to build a story. This would have been a good point to make our excuses and leave.
Hopkins employs a pointillistic style, with short scenes (often of only 10 or 15 seconds) to build up a picture of the alienation and isolation of (mainly young) people in a rural community. The film presents an unrelenting negative view of the characters, both young and old, with no relief for either the viewer or protagonists. The film is beautifully shot and coloured but there’s little else to admire beyond the bucolic photography. The dialogue is awful, like a Pinter send-up and the stunted scenes restrict any opportunity for the actors to engage with the audience.
Fundamentally though the problem lies with Hopkins’ view of humanity, which is so negative and joyless. Many people live difficult and complicated lives, but few would struggle on if they had as little humanity and spirit as Hopkins portrays in the film. There are many ‘Better Things’ than this.
2008-10-20 13:05:00 GMT permalink