I’m all in favor of experimentation in the arts. Sometimes you get a real breakthrough. Sometimes it falls flat on its face. And sometimes the best you can say for it is that it was an interesting attempt. This one falls into the last category.
It is entirely in split screen, four quadrants, where things are happening simultaneously. You know that because about fifteen minutes in, there is a small earthquake, and everyone in all four screens is shaken up. The way it was filmed is fascinating, technically. There were four hand-held digital cameras that each had a capacity of ninety-three minutes. They rehearsed it for fifteen days, and on the sixteenth they put it to bed. The huge cast (including some very good people, too many to list here) improvised their lines, and the cameras made one long, long take of all four locations, which eventually marry up and begin to make a little bit of sense.
But, alas, not enough sense. It is very hard to follow it, even though the sound is usually turned down for the three least interesting scenes while the fourth dominates. And the biggest problem is that I didn’t really care for anyone I saw in the first half hour. I turned it off, and chalked it up to a noble attempt that really, really needed a better story.