Published Nov 01, 2005You could call Desolation Sound a generic Canadian guilt trip with the usual non-aesthetic trimmings. Or, you could call it the surprise comedy hit of the year, crammed full of unspeakable dialogue, berserk logical jumps and characters so flimsy that they practically blow away in a strong breeze.
Helene Joy stars as the stereotypical frustrated housewife who lives in the eponymous small town: she's shaken up when "friend from childhood" Jennifer Beals shows up, drinks profusely and decides to sleep with Joy's husband. Naturally, a scuffle results in Beals' early death, prompting one of those melodramatic identity transferences that lets Joy make high-school grade "passionate" art and sleep with town cop Ed Begley, Jr. But no amount of synopsising can do justice to the sheer brilliant awfulness of this camp classic, a film every man, woman and child should see for how not to make a movie.
Clearly made by people with no perspective on cinema, life, or the six inches in front of their faces, it throws out flavourless functional lines that no human would say, creates events that would never happen and, as a critic friend of mine pointed out, has in Begley the least competent policeman to ever to hit a noir knockoff. That it reiterates that knee-jerk Anglo-Canadian worship of unpleasure is par for the course, but it's created on such autopilot that it begins to look like a Rorschach blot.
Though the whole thing reeks of a make-work project made by wannabes who long to be in movies but haven't been paying attention to how someone actually makes them, it constantly amazes with its non-stop hilarity and frequent logical meshuginas. I'd be a fool not to tell you to rush right out and see it before its sure-to-be one-week run ends abruptly. (Equinoxe)