by Scheck, Frank, published on June 2, 2006|
NEW YORK - A grim little drama about a young woman's experiences with a left-wing cult, Alison Murray's debut feature suffers from disjointed storytelling and myriad other problems, including a bizarre reliance on modern dance sequences to interrupt the action. The film is no doubt being released just now because its star, Ellen Page, has lately achieved great exposure with her turns in both the acclaimed "Hard Candy" and the current "X Men" flick. But the diffuse "Mouth to Mouth" is unlikely to capitalize on it to any great degree.
The talented young actress plays Sherry, a teenage runaway wandering the streets of Europe. She becomes involved with a group called SPARK (Street People Armed With Radical Knowledge), thanks in no small part to the appeal of its leader, Harry (Eric Thal), a frequently shirtless and charismatic hunk.
Although at first she greatly enjoys being with the group, who travel around looking to pick up young recruits at raves and other such events, Sherry soon becomes aware that they have a dark side. Its members are brutally punished for a wide variety of perceived transgressions, and it's obvious that their leader has an abnormal hold on them. Things become even more complicated when Sherry's mother (Natasha Wightman) shows up to reclaim her daughter, only to fall under Harry's throes, sexual and otherwise.
Although filmmaker Murray clearly has a passion for her autobiographical story, her inexperience as a filmmaker reveals itself in a wide variety of ways. The most egregious of these is her extensive use of modern dance (she also is a choreographer) to interrupt the narrative. Despite the best efforts of its clearly talented lead performer, "Mouth" too often resembles the sort of druggy, 1970s era movies that play much better in one's memory than while actually watching them.
Source: Hollywood Reporter