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Loveland (Ivan Sen, 2021) aka Expired; wr., music, dp Ivan Sen; prod. David Jowsey, Bunya Productions; Keiichi Enomoto, June Yoon, Ryan Kwanten, Hugo Weaving; scifi; shot Hong Kong, Macau, Qld
I recognise nothing in this of the Ivan Sen whose work I have been avidly consuming since the late 1990s.
The story is just another scifi fantasy about the interface between human and machine, life and death, memory and desire, giving rise to the same old ontological and epistemological questions.
The tone is morosely sustained throughout. The unpleasant, insistent 'elegaic' (perhaps) music plays a part, as do the repeated shots of a dense landscape of skyscrapers.
The acting is inconsequential. But a special black mark has to be given to the decision to allow Ryan Kwanten's monologue to be almost completely incomprehensible. Which for a very wordy production is contradictory. If we have to spend most of the film listening to this interminably anguished failure, why are we not permitted to hear what he's talking about? At least it would have passed the time.
I actually dozed off for a few minutes in the middle, and when I revived, thought the film had started over again - but it was just more of the same. Like me, it got its second wind and droned on.
I'm afraid Ivan Sen has lost it. All we have left is Beneath Clouds to treasure in memory of someone who, like the Kwanten character in this film, has ... expired.
Luke Buckmaster didn't like it either, but put it much better than me:
Sen delivered weighty ponderousness much better in his outback noir Goldstone, another production that takes familiar genre mechanisms and slows them right down. In Loveland, the dialogue and narration is so full on that it becomes almost fourth-wall-breaking in its artifice, pulling the viewer out of the experience by reminding us of the film-making (in particular the writing) process. This unquestionably ambitious film works best as a mood piece: it’s big, bold, cerebral and intensely unsubtle. The Guardian.
Garry Gillard | New: 28 April, 2021 | Now: 31 March, 2022