Greetings! I have something special for you today – a wordy blog post!
A cautionary note: I often struggle to write a review of something if I know what I would criticize and forget how to underline the good bits.
The film is about a bunch of loosely-connected people who are in various types of relationships – with the general theme of Facebook, and its “relationship status”, affecting how they act and who they meet. The film is, well, mostly a lot of dialogue, with little or no action, other than one slap and mild pillow action. One might call it somewhat draggy because of this.
On the plus side, the dialogue is very real, and the pacing and articulation is what you experience in real life – kudos to all the amazing actors – but you might realize that Hollywood caters to the short-attention-span generation, and your typical movie scene is shorter, wittier, more dramatic, and faster-paced. As I watched the dialogues, it was as if I was an invisible fly, sitting in my neighbor’s house, listening to them have a leisurely talk.
I’m not sure if it’s just me, being a photographer, but it did bother me each time the Canon 5D Mark II used to shoot the movie, went out of focus – and it did, many times, with some scenes having the sofa be in focus, or the camera operator was inexperienced with focus pulling, especially when the actor was moving in the scene. It’s quite apparent when there is a sharp zone of focus across an actor’s cheeks but not anywhere else! I’d rather stop the lens down just a tiny bit as a full-frame video camera is unforgiving.
You know what movie has awesome bokeh? The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1. I kid you not. The bokeh in that movie is awesome – backgrounds are painted with a lush, rich, saturated brush.
The other niggle I had, which might’ve been the projector, was the white balance – many scenes were shot (seemingly) with room lighting only, so you get the icky flourescent green and a pallid greenish orange for tungsten. It gives too much of an indie look which distracted me from the conversation – honestly I’d rather set the white balance to appear like daylight as that is how humans perceive it.
The camera angles are good, though there was one bit in Daphne/Tony’s scene where they are having a conversation, and it looks like the camera operator is standing in front of the sofa they are sitting on. It suddenly jumps to a eye-level shot of Daphne as she says something pivotal. Impactful, perhaps, but strange.
And of course there’s that rather bumpy baby bump. I did enjoy the scenes with Ruzana/Daphne, though, with the audience feeling the tense build up to the inevitable. I wish more of the movie was like this!
The movie starts with a guy writing “Hope your well” on a girl’s Facebook wall. Now this would be alright… if he wasn’t a writer. Apologies for the Grammar Nazi outburst. Heil The Queen’s English!
Hmmm, or was it a snide poke at how social networks and the Internet have killed our command of English? Then again, English is a language with terribly inconsistent rules.
Interestingly, Davina, and the character she plays, has the same birthdate! I wonder what other nuggets are there e.g. Ilmar.
I don’t know if it’s because I know Khai, and I’ve seen his previous movie, Ciplak (which was awesome, and high on entertainment value and his trademark humor) that I couldn’t help but feel that this was not what I had expected. Plus he had experience in the Malaysian film industry, as well as short films of all sorts (which I always looked forward to, because of entertainment value).
Nevertheless, it is a good movie that feels real. So please go watch Relationship Status at a TGV near you today! (Also, TGV has massively overhauled their site and it is real snazzy that it doesn’t need any plugins. Well done!)