Friday, 29 August 2008

Mirrors

A little old school, a little modern, though not entirely complete...

Ben Carson (Keifer Sutherland) is currently undergoing marital problems with his wife, Amy (Paula Patton), who is not showing much interest in his wellbeing. As an attempt to stabilize his life, Ben lands a job as a nighttime security guard for an abandoned, yet important, department store. However Ben comes across some mysterious circumstances when it appears that the mirrors in the building are reflecting an alternative reality to his own.

The story seems like a simple affair at first: man goes around some dark and mysterious place, discovers something he shouldn't, and all hell breaks loose. For the sake of everyone, the film does attempt to be more then that. Director Alexandre Aja does a good job at meshing both the supernatural elements of the mirrors with the reality of Carson's married life. The former is tense with some some great moments marred by some which are clich├ęd. The overall result is hardly mixed however, and proves to serve horror in a good dose, and as well has a nice hint of Asian horror. Like the horror, the social elements either work or do not. The conflict between both Ben and Amy seems rooted in reality and can be related to. But the film does little in the beginning arc to help attach the viewer to Ben's social life circumstances and so there are a few scenes which don't quite gel well enough to be entirely believable. The overall story moves at a decent enough pace, slowly bringing to light new point for the viewer. But after the two-thirds mark, the story not only picks up speed but content as well to the point where the last third of the film has enough story to be told in the first two-thirds. The problem is that too much happens towards the end that its difficult to justify cohesion in the films plot. It really needed to be a few minutes longer so that some of the plot could get more fleshing out.

But what is presented, Aja does a great job directing. The cinematography is not exceptional by any means, but is still a wonder to watch. The best of the lot easily goes to the death sequences, with the first being an excellent prologue into the story, and another which is truly numbingly evil: you'll want to keep watching due to its uniqueness but at the same time turn your eyes away. Sadly not all scenes are well thought through, mainly due to the story. The ending, for instance, was rather surprising but apt. However there is no underlying logic to link the events to any tangible truth expressed through Aja's direction. And this is easily the films greatest fault: Aja appears to hope the audience will not question how the film progresses. Even the explanation for the mirrors is still left shrouded, and not because its all expected to be a big mystery, but because Aja does little to use his directional cue to help give more explanation when its needed.

Acting is commendable with a few solid performances but none of them are truly able to be anything but good. Sutherland pulls the film along and is fairly believable throughout as a confused security guard going through marital problems, while having to cope with the mystery that surrounds the mirrors. The only downside is that his performance does, at times, bear a slight resemblance to his role in 24. It's nothing major, and will perhaps only be available to ardent fans of the series. Other characters are minor, though Patton does get a nice little chunk and is adequate enough to support Sutherland, but when the script seems to falter with her character, so does Patton. Thankfully her acting is not unbearable.

No sex, and some slight nudity, the film is loaded with scattered with swearing, though not always hard. The violence does get gory with two particular scenes, shown in the red-band trailer, being excessively so. And the camera lingers on the bodily wounds and accompanied blood. Beyond this there is nothing exceedingly graphics about the scenes, with the worst being the images of people on fire but this is achieved with poor CG and so lessens its effect. In fact, fans of Aja's work will possibly be a tad disappointed that the gore level never reaches his previous efforts, notably The Hills Have Eyes, but that doesn't stop it from being powerful images nonetheless.

Mirrors is very much like a mirror in all honesty. There is the real, tangible film, but then also the diluted image which is created from the reflection: as much as the film seems to promote substance, it inadvertently at times does not. The story is interesting, though inconsistent. The acting is good, though not entirely exclusive. The horror has some excellent moments, though there probably is not enough. Regardless, Mirrors is not a poor excuse for a film. On the contrary, its a good attempt and quite enjoyable. If anything, Mirrors proves an excellent introduction for those who have not accustomed themselves, or are not willing to do so, to the excessive gore of modern horror.

7/10


Screen date: 29 August 2008
Release date: 29 August 2008

4 comments:

Farzan said...

Good review, my sister saw this film and said it was really scary. I havent seen the film myself, but I heard it was pretty bad.

CruizD said...

Thx :)

Yeah the film has been getting some negative comments hey?
I think it really depends on your angle to the film. i usually dislike horror, especially those torture porn types, but I found Mirrors to my liking, Maybe because it has this Asian element to it which I always find interesting.

CinemaPat said...

Good review, I stayed away from this for a long time since it is a "supernatural" type film. But the premise seems interesting to me.

download movies said...

I like mirrors..It uses supernatural concepts and real life of our lead character.I am sure you won't be disappoint if you watch this movie.See the trailer first.