Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Here we have a science fiction film that dares to ask the big questions. Such as: if you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be? If your answer is, “A mystical tree used to power cities and turn people into braying man-pigs with its poisonous sap,” then you’re in luck, because Eden Log is clearly your soul mate. Don’t get me wrong—I love me a bit of ponderous, humourless allegory (honest, I swear!), but everyone has limits, and here are mine. Shot in a murky, drained palette, Eden Log is a reflection in a mud puddle, with all the expected depth. The film moves between scenes of plodding, mostly wordless action in shadowy caverns and equally gray, talky scenes of pure exposition—not the most nimble storytelling technique, you have to admit. Franck Vestiel has a perfectly sensible idea behind his obfuscating stylistics, which is that corporate corruption and dehumanization are rife in society and must be resisted, and this is a moral choice we must all make, and it involves magic trees. But why must Vestiel be so afraid of injecting any sense of personality or character into his solemn signifying? He has a message, but lacks a film, which is equivalent to setting out to sea with cargo but not a ship. Little wonder the whole thing sinks—there’s a lot of weight with nothing to support it.