The Tracey Fragments

"Weak"

The Tracey Fragments Review


Jason Reitman's Juno did amazing business, turned Ellen Page into an overnight phenomenon and gave people (including this reviewer) an excuse to refer to their significant others as "the cheese to my macaroni." From such a place comes Bruce McDonald's The Tracey Fragments. Arty to the nth degree, splintered and, yes, fragmented, this micro-indie gives carte blanche to Page again as Tracey Berkowitz, a cerebrally-addled teen who roams the streets and city buses of Ontario in the hopes of finding her missing younger brother Sonny (Thomas Turgoose), who has been hypnotized into believing he is a dog. Keane, it is not.

Though fitfully discombobulated, the song remains the same. Tracey's parents are two hyper-depressed louts who scream, bicker, and wonder why their daughter can't be just a normal happy teenager. Tracey's boyfriend is Billy Zero, a botched attempt at fertilizing Morrisey's eggs with Gary Numan's seed. Tracey has flourishes of fantasia that paint Billy and her as the leaders of an almost-listenable punk band called Teenage Pussy that gets Album of the Year from Mojo magazine. She has a female psychiatrist that faintly resembles the Screaming Man from Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth, and her entire school thinks it's a real riot that she has small boobs. Where am I?

Adapting the screenplay from her novel of the same name, Maureen Medved gives Page some awfully well-worn pieces of dime-store philosophy to spew up. If "When things happen to people, they radiate a light" doesn't grab you, just wait for the bits about how eating glue will turn your children into horses and how consuming honey is basically an act of cannibalism. For what it's worth, however, these shards of art-school poetry fit into the palette: If any attempt at natural dialogue had been made, this would have been a real disaster.

Shot in McDonald's native Ontario and originally released in Canada last November, The Tracey Fragments is an Ellen Page showcase that looks strange enough to almost be something more. Random shots of a cheap necklace, toy horses, and a tiny noose are all well and good, but their randomness seems unable to conjure up any feeling except that of "dude, this is totally random". The imagery is self-conscious chic enough to be noticeable but is unable to cull together meaning or even merry bewilderment.

But as previously mentioned, this is all Ellen Page through the Bruce McDonald filter and she has an uncommon performer's energy. Her mumbling tirades teeter on the ledge between agony and cynicism without falling into either category. And though Tracey and Juno are about the same age with not-completely-different dispositions, Page makes them separate entities (save for one instance when she summons the number "forty kadrillion" out of thin air). The Tracey Fragments serves to show that Page isn't scared to go outside the "safety" of Juno and though I was already convinced of that (see Hard Candy), Fragments is not without its minor merits.

This meal would be better with a hamburger phone.



The Tracey Fragments

Facts and Figures

Run time: 77 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 20th March 2008

Box Office Worldwide: $31.6 thousand

Budget: $700 thousand

Distributed by: ThinkFilm

Production compaines: Téléfilm Canada, Shadow Shows

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 33%
Fresh: 11 Rotten: 22

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Sarah Timmins

Starring: as Tracey Berkowitz, Ari Cohen as Mr. Berkowitz, Erin McMurtry as Mrs. Berkowitz, Maxwell McCabe-Lokos as Lance (as Max McCabe - Lokos), Zie Souwand as Sonny Berkowitz, as Detective

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.