I received an email from moviemaker Oren Shai recently, asking if I'd be interested in seeing his movie Condemned.
"As a Women-in-Prison film, Condemned takes more after Caged than Caged Heat. Paying a Noir-ish tribute to the 1950's WiP's, with a Spaghetti Western twist."
Well, thank you very much, Mr. Shai. You may indeed count me as interested.
Frankly, I can't imagine a much more convincing advertisement for a movie. At least not as directed toward this movie watcher.
In anticipation of my chance to see Condemned, I checked out Shai's previous movie, Heavy Soul.
I could go about trying to convince you to be interested in that, but here it is.
Perhaps your mileage will vary, but I enjoyed it a whole lot. It not only replicates elements of the old familiar "warning" movies, but adds an interesting ambiguity that puts one in mind of David Lynch.
So, I sat down to Condemned with considerable enthusiasm.
I'm not sure if my enthusiasm paid off or not, quite honestly.
The mood and texture of the movie is astonishing. It captures the gritty film noir feel perfectly. All of the technical points build to create something very interesting, the acting and music are excellent, and seem to fit exactly to the concept I was sold on.
But I'm not sure... and this is a genuine unsureness.... Is it an ambiguous masterpiece of its own that I will continue revisiting in my head as well as on my TV or is it an excellent but hollow piece of style? I have nothing at all against it being the latter, mind you, and the fact that I've continued to contemplate the question at all suggests it's likely the former.
And yet I'm left feeling unqualified to offer more than that to say about it just yet.
I do recommend it, most assuredly.
And I'll certainly be watching for Shai's future works. His website says he's developing a feature. I'll be very interested to see what that will be.
Thanks again for bringing your work to my attention! I promise I'll keep watching.