Not fit to survive

Review of Camille by Ian S., age 17

And his dead bride said, "Silas." And I looked, and behold a blue horse: and its rider's name was Camille, and Love followed with her.

But only that love which exists in the most contrived way. That love which is conveyed through a man saying to a woman, "I love you," and the woman says back to the man, "I love you too." That love which conquers all, including the death of the bride an hour into the honeymoon.

Camille begins with a wedding between a very hesitant Silas (James Franco) and the titular overly enthusiastic Camille (Sienna Miller). Camille is killed in a motorcycle accident early in the film, only to be resurrected by her love for Silas (or something). The exact cause of her resurrection is never explained, but it doesn't seem to matter either, because, despite being the apparent main plot of the film, it doesn't change anything. Somehow, the death of half the couple notwithstanding, their relationship remains trapped in static.

After a decent enough start, the film morphs into a horrifically clichéd romantic dramedy/road movie. The turning point is at about the same time Camille is resurrected. It's as if the filmmakers decided that having an undead bride was original enough to make up for the rest of the film's blandness. Unfortunately, the undead bride gimmick was the only original thing that they could think of. Franco's entire character is lifted from a Lifetime Movie.

David Carradine (Kill Bill, Kung Fu) shows up as Cowboy Bob, ostensibly to deliver some good old cowboy wisdom, but no such wisdom is delivered. Cowboy Bob is a stock character, but he is only the cutout—nothing has been pasted onto it. Sure, maybe he paints his horses various colors, but that doesn't make him any more interesting as a character; it's only an unexplained

Perhaps most frustrating is the constant feeling that this could be slightly better, if it just weren't for the syrupy muzak-style soundtrack. The actors do the best they can with the poorly written dialogue they've been given, and it could almost be believable, but then the sickeningly sweet
background music drops in, utterly ruining the mood instead of enhancing it.

The film is guilty not only of using unrealistic dialogue to display Silas and Camille's love for one another, but also cheap camerawork. As Silas and Camille kiss, the camera twirls around them, pulling in and out, see how much they love each other. And then it begins to rain, but look! They remain kissing in the rain, because they *love* each other. At one point, Camille's sheriff father even tells Silas that he's not afraid to take the law into his own hands—the law of love.

After finally pulling the cheapest trick out of the bag—sappiness—the film closes with a magical rain of rice. This corresponds to a line spoken earlier by Camille, distressed by the lack of rice, which they need, she says, for luck. I'd wish it good luck finding an audience, but I believe in Cinematic Darwinism, and Camille is not fit to survive.

Ian S.
May 12th, 2008

Seattle International Film Festival
Sunday, May 25 @ 9:30 @ Uptown Cinema
Wednesday, May 28th @ 4:00 @ Uptown Cinema

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