Surveillance

"Weak"

Surveillance Review


Digital filmmaking technology can be a dangerous thing. On the one hand, it opens up affordable avenues of production to virtually everyone. On the other hand, it leads to a flood of movies on the market that have been made for less than the cost of printing your Christmas cards.

Which, in the case of Surveillance, is apparently the case.

The film's conceit is this: Digital video was not simply used for cost concerns, but because it is integral to the story. In the picture, a private eye named Trip Stevens (Stephen Triplett -- get it?) is hired by a becoming redhead named Junis Rozma (Jacqueline Carroll) to locate her missing brother "C. Fred." Trip, with his team of Charlie's Angels-lite helpers, quickly learns that Fred's dead, baby, and soon he is wrapped up in a convoluted web of trickery that revolves around a porky cop, his inexlicable "fake prostitution stings," a Russian limo driver, and a video dating service. Think of it as a backyard, undergrad version of Chinatown.

As Trip is a P.I., the entire film is told from the perspective of alleged surveillance and hidden cameras. (Interesting idea, but it turns out that just about everyone carries a "hidden camera" or two with them, all the time, thus ruining that angle.)

Unfortunately, the lack of attention paid to Surveillance (its really snazzy presskit aside) shows through at the seams. A two-hour running time is far too long to keep an audience seated without a score or, at the very least, some better acting than we're treated to here. Triplett may be funny as a sketch-comedy player on Talk Soup, but his mooning antics grow tiresome quickly in a feature film format (which, I might point out, is not supposed to be a comedy). A raft of other semi-improvising and otherwise out-of-work actors (with the notable exception of Carroll's femme fatale) doesn't help matters.

While Surveillance makes good use of the photographic options of DV, it ends up relying more on handheld bouncy-cam footage a la The Blair Witch Project than anything else. Rotten sound design leaves much of the film hard to make out aurally -- a problem that would have been largely avoided had an aggressive editor chopped about 80 minutes of fat out of the film.

Surveillance ultimately has a few charming moments but feels more like a weekend film school project than the daringly experimental feature it desperately wants to be. Nice try.

Yep.



Surveillance

Facts and Figures

Run time: 97 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 31st July 2008

Box Office Worldwide: $1M

Budget: $3.5M

Distributed by: Magnet Releasing

Production compaines: Blue Rider Pictures, Lago Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 55%
Fresh: 40 Rotten: 33

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Elisabeth Anderson, as Sam Hallaway, as Bobbi Prescott, as Janet, as Dad (Steven), David Gane as Grocery Man, Gill Gayle as Degrasso, Kent Harper as Bennett, as Billings, Shannon Jardine as Elaine Meyer, Angela Lamarsh as Maid, Gerald Lenton-Young as Coroner, Mac Miller as Johnny, Charlie Newmark as Wright, as Mom, as Stephanie, Anita Smith as Tina, as Jim Conrad, Josh Strait as Keith, Kent Nolan as David

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