Search
3D 80s Cinema Action Adaptation Adventure Age of Adaline aliens altzheimers amazon Amitabh Bachchan Animation anime Ari Gold Australian film AV Industry BDSM Beach Boys Berlinale Bianca Biasi Big Hero 6 Biography Biopic Blake Lively Bollywood Breast Cancer Brian Wilson Camille Keenan Cancer candyman cannibalism Cannon Films Cesars CGI Chapman To Character Actors Charlie Hunnam Charlize Theron Chris Hemsworth Chris Pratt Christchurch Christopher Nolan Comedy Coming-of-Age Crowd-sourced Cure Dakota Johnson Dardennes Brothers Deepika Padukone Depression Disney Documentary Dr Moreau drama Dustin Clare EL James eli roth Elizabeth Banks Entourage Epic Erotic Cinema Extreme Sports Family Film Fantasy Father Daughter Fifty Shades of Grey Film Film Festival Foreign found footage French Cinema Golan Globus green inferno Guardians of the Galaxy Guillermo del Toro Happiness Harrison Ford Harry Dean Stanton Hasbro Haunted house Hhorror Himalaya Hollywood horror Horror Film Housebound Idris Elba IMAX In Your Eyes Independent Indian Film Infini Internet Interstellar Iron Man 3 Irrfan Khan James Gunn Jamie Dornan Jeff Krulik Jennifer Kent Jennifer Peedom Jeremy Piven John Cusack Josie Ho Joss Whedon Kathmandu kite Kristen Stewart Ladyhawke Latvian Cinema Liam Neeson Lili Tomlin Lord of the Rings los angeles Love & Mercy Lukla Making of Marion Cotillard Mark Hartley Mark Wahlberg Marriage Marvel MGM Michael Bay MIFF Minuscule Mount Everest Naked Ambition Nepal New Zealand Film Nuit de la Glisse NZFC Oscars Outback Ozploitation Pacific Rim Palio Paper Planes Perth Pet Sounds Piku Poltergeist Post-apocalyptic Quarantine Haunting Quarantine Station remake Research Retro Fashion Revelation Film Festival Revelations Review
« FINAL CUT - LADIES AND GENTLEMEN | Main | LOVELACE »
Tuesday
Jun112013

THE RAMBLER

Stars: Dermot Mulroney, Lindsay Pulsipher, James Cady, Scott Sharot, Natasha Lyonne, Paul Blott, Robyn Reede and Christopher Dempsey.
Writer/director: Calvin Reeder.

Rating: 2/5

Dermot Mulroney’s ‘Man with No Name’ drifter is all too appropriately at the centre of offbeat auteur Calvin Reeder’s ‘Film with No Point’, The Rambler. Overflowing with dreamlike imagery, illogical narrative progression and impenetrable directorial vision, this dusty, dimwitted indulgence will seem cool to some who think its very obtuse nature is reason enough to praise it. It isn’t; The Rambler is mostly just ridiculous.

Mulroney, a solid presence in both mainstream and indie cinema for two decades, goes out on a career limb associating himself with a work of such niche appeal and debatable worth. The film certainly benefits from his involvement, but what he could possibly gain from taking on the titular role (or, more precisely, what artistic growth could he achieve) is beyond me.

We meet ‘The Rambler’ as he is released from prison into an American Midwest filled with dark-hearted eccentrics. Among them, Rambler’s trailer-park girlfriend (Natasha Lyonne, making a welcome return to the screen) who boots him out of their shared RV; a cab driver (Scott Sharot) with an obsession for old monster movies; a twisted mad scientist (James Cady) whose VHS dream-recorder literally blows the mind; and a girl (Lindsay Pulsipher, working with Reeder again after 2010’s little-seen The Oregonian) who inexplicably falls for Mulroney’s bad-boy caricature.

Reeder’s vision invites consideration and involvement for most of its first half. There is something compelling about Mulroney’s road-trip journey (he is on his way to his brother’s property to work breaking in horses) and sideways detours into odd landscapes, invariably accompanied by a pulsating ambient soundtrack, hold a certain allure. It is clear that Reeder is a big fan of David Lynch, his film rather shamefacedly drawing on imagery from Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks, though ultimately minus the character definition that was so crucial to Lynch’s work.

The films’ last 40 minutes, quite frankly, are indecipherable. Reeder indulges in 80s-style gore, physical monster effects, a messy aural mix and swift editing to crazy up Rambler’s descent into a dissociative, nightmare state. Dogs snack on corpses, rotting demon-monsters accompany country-and-western tunes, our hero stoically stares down all manner of B-horror manifestations. None of it makes a lick of sense to anyone bar Reeder himself and his disciples, but it drones on for 99 minutes of incomprehensible inanity.

If the film achieves anything, it is in its raising of the question of just how much responsibility a director has to both his vision and its audience.  Bravo to Reeder for getting this before festival crowds, but outbreaks of full laughter and frustrated walkouts, as happened at the Sydney Film Festival screening that SCREEN-SPACE attended, can’t have been what he envisioned. He has somehow managed to not only hold onto but also bring to festival audiences the type of gaudy pretentiousness usually drummed out of over-confident students in their first year at film school. Which is not to say there isn’t a place for totally off-centre works like The Rambler, but inside public theatres is not it.  

References (2)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
  • Response
    Response: alcoholism
    get best information on drug addiction, signs of drug addiction, and resources anywhere

Reader Comments (2)

Did that need to be the image that accompanied this article? In my opinion it didn't need to be included.

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergross

I appreciate that feedback very much. Indeed, I was somewhat concerned about the image; I created a section entitled 'Horror' so that images like the one here could be avoided by casual visitors. But as a 'review' I had to run it in the 'Review' section and this low-budget, barely-released film had very little online presence from which I could grab an accompanying still. I will say that this was the image that accompanied the film's profile for its Sydney Film Festival release and several other film festival program profiles. Regardless, I do regret that it caused you discomfort and apologise for that.

August 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSimon Foster

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>