The Tracey Fragments Bruce McDonald

The Tracey Fragments Bruce McDonald
We all know it’s difficult to be a teenage girl. But there’s adolescent angst and confusion caused by raging hormones and a developing mind and there’s Tracey Berkowitz (Ellen Page, pre-Juno explosion). On many levels, Tracey is like other girls: she’s just the average teenager who hates herself. Between torment from her peers in school, a hotheaded father, a mentally unstable mother and a missing brother, it’s not surprising that Tracey’s focus is so, well, fragmented. And while Tracey’s plight makes The Tracey Fragments a compelling tale in its own right, it is the visceral split-screen aesthetic and raw performance by Page that create a fundamental need to see these countless fragments pieced together into some manner of integrated whole. It’s difficult to say whether the editing style makes the film or saves the film. It is so downtrodden that if it were to play out straight it might be too tedious to bear. The harrowing subject matter is also difficult to maintain as believable outside Page’s inner circle. The supporting cast is often awkward and amateurish but the style manages to hide that as much as possible. Still, Tracey’s fragments make for an innovative cinematic language that stretches into the DVD special features. Even the "Behind the Scenes” featurette is told in the same visual style. Aside from that and a monotonous picture gallery, the DVD features a segment entitled "Tracey: Re-Fragmented.” At the time of the film’s release, the raw footage was made available online for download and the five best re-cut shorts have been included on the DVD as part of a contest. The results are mixed but the concept is pioneering. The same can be said for the film itself. (Alliance Films)