Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Jack & Diane

Written and directed by Bradley Rust Gray, Jack & Diane is the story about two teenage girls who fall in love with each other as their romance intensify until one of them has to move away leading to all sorts of issues. The film is an exploration into young love as well as its complexities at such a young age. Starring Juno Temple, Riley Keough, Dane DeHann, Cara Seymour, Haviland Morris, and Kylie Minogue. Jack & Diane is an interesting but very messy film from Bradley Rust Gray.

After losing her cell phone, Diane (Juno Temple) wanders around Brooklyn trying to make a phone call as she enters a store where she meets a tomboy named Jack (Riley Keough). The two eventually go to a club where they kiss for the first time as their relationship starts to blossom. When Diane’s aunt Linda (Cara Seymour) finds out about the relationship, she isn’t happy as she revealed to Jack that Diane is leaving for Paris in two-weeks to attend school there. Jack is devastated where the two briefly break up until Jack learns something about Diane’s twin sister Karen. The two reunite as Jack and Diane spend their time together before Diane leaves for Paris where eventually, the two would make an encounter with strange things around them.

The film is essentially a love story between two teenage girls in Brooklyn where they spend their summer being together as one of them is set to leave for Paris to attend school there. Meanwhile, there’s some strange things happening as one of the girls has been having nosebleeds as she’s been going into some weird transformations that would shock both of them. While the premise is interesting, the screenplay ends up being meandering in terms of its plot schematics where it’s not sure where to go or what to do. There’s also some awkward writing in the dialogue while there’s also a lot of strange sub-stories regarding some things inside Diane’s body that would eventually be unveiled in the third act.

Bradley Rust Gray’s direction has some engaging moments in the way he builds up the relationship between Jack and Diane with some interesting shots as well as shooting it on location in Brooklyn. Yet, Gray seems unsure in what kind of film he wants to make where the screenplay really doesn’t do much to make the relationship more intriguing as the film progresses. Throughout the film, there’s these strange animated inserts by the Brothers Quay that establishes a lot of the things that’s happening to Diane. By the time the film reaches its third act, things start to drag when it comes to the eventual reveal about Diane and Jack’s encounter with it as it leads to very over-drawn moments concerning the film’s ending. Overall, Gray creates a film that had an interesting idea but falls flat in its inability to define itself as what kind of film it wants to be.

Cinematographer Anne Misawa does nice work with the photography from the wonderful look of the Brooklyn exterior settings to the array of lights at the club Jack and Diane attend. Editors Bradley Rust Gray and So Yong Kim do terrific work with the editing to capture the intensity of the relationship through some stylish cuts along with fade-outs for the transitions. Production designer Chris Trujillo and art director Matt Marks do some good work with the set pieces such as Diane‘s room as well as the club she and Jack go to. Costume designer Audrey Louise Reynolds does excellent work with the costumes from the tomboyish look of Jack to the more colorful clothing of Diane.

The creature design by Gabe Bartalos is quite good for its sense of horror although it just adds to the confusing nature of the film. The animation by the Quay Brothers is a highlight for the way it looks though the inserts they put in doesn‘t really seem to help out the film‘s narrative. Sound designer Kent Sparling does superb work with the sound from the way the music is heard on location to the atmosphere of the locations the characters encounter at. The music by the group mum is a major highlight of the film for its ambient textures and space-like tone to convey the sense of longing between the two protagonists. Music supervisor Rachel Fox creates a wonderful soundtrack that features music by Jonsi, Shellac, the Dillinger Escape Plan, some electronic music, and a great cover of Yazoo’s Only You by the Flying Pickets.

The casting by Sig de Miguel and Stephen Vincent is stellar as it features some cameo appearances from pop queen Kylie Minogue as a tattooed lesbian that Jack hangs out with, Lou Taylor Pucci as a guy in a web video, Haviland Morris as Jack’s mom, and Dane DeHaan as Jack’s co-worker Chris. Cara Seymour is good as Diane’s aunt Linda though it’s a character that doesn’t get much to do. Finally, there’s the duo of Riley Keough and Juno Temple in their respective roles as Jack and Diane. Keough brings a restrained yet calm performance as the tomboyish Jack as she tries to figure out about Diane. Temple is more outgoing as Diane as well as the way she goes into awkward moments as their performances are a real highlight of the film despite its weak script.

Jack & Diane is a really underwhelming film from Bradley Rust Gray despite the lead performances of Juno Temple and Riley Keough as well as terrific film soundtrack. It’s a film that really has no idea what it wants to be where it ends up meandering throughout and leading the film to drag at times. In the end, Jack & Diane is a terribly incomprehensible film from Bradley Rust Gray.

© thevoid99 2012


Erik said...

I wish the 'artsy-ness' caught up to the reality of the film. I can appreciate what they were trying to do, but I couldn't get past the stilted dialog. :)

thevoid99 said...

I wished it was more realistic and engaging. Yet, the dialogue was just terrible and its delivery really annoyed me. What a waste of taking up my DVR HD space it was.

Erik said...

It's funny you mention that. Are you watching this On-Demand or those HDNET sneak previews. I'm finding I'm having a hard time getting through a lot of of these Magnet/Magnolia movies. Most of the time I can't even bring myself to write about them. I have draft of "Nobody Walks" that's been taking up space on both my blog and DVR for a few weeks now. :)

thevoid99 said...

@Erik-I DVR them on that HDNET channel that I've been having for a while. I also have Nobody Walks on my HD DVR space. Yet, I just got the Sundance Channel and IFC back and it's taking up a lot of space at the moment. I'm not sure when I'll watch Nobody Walks as I'm currently doing a mini-marathon of films by Samuel Fuller.

Erik said...

I enjoy the channel, I just wish it was a higher 'hit' rate. I wasn't a fan of Nobody Walks or Nature Calls (another recent HDNET release). I still appreciate the releases though. I'll keep an eye out for your latest reviews.

thevoid99 said...

@Erik-I wasn't interested in Nature Calls. If there's a film worth interested, I'll DVR it.

Maybe I'll delete Nobody Walks since it'll eventually be on TV again soon. I need more space in my DVR hard drive.