Ellen Page makes this stuff work|
By Aaron Hillis, published on Tuesday, May 6th 2008 at 1:48pm
"My name is Tracey Berkowitz. Fifteen. Just a normal girl who hates herself." Again leading as a deadpan, snarky, eponymous naïf dealing with issues way beyond her maturity level, Junos Ellen Page confesses to the camera an angry, diaristic account of how her bullied dreamer wound up in the back of a bus, naked beneath a shower curtain, searching for her hypnotized brother. Replicating the splintered prose of Maureen Medveds novel-cum-screenplay, cult Canadian director Bruce McDonald (Highway 61) reveals the murky detailssome true, others defense-mechanism fantasies in Traceys brooding rock-star brainentirely in dynamic split-screen shards, linearity be damned. Unlike the frustrating gimmickry of Mike Figgiss Timecode and Hotel, McDonalds bedazzling multi-frame experiment poeticizes and enhances an otherwise slender story (forgivable at only 77 minutes long), as planes of different sizes and shapes materializefading, sliding, distorting, and overlapping to convey the rage and anxiety of damaged adolescence. Funhouse-cloned images giddily intensify disturbing moments, hazy memories take the form of asymmetric repetitions, and walls literally close in. Beyond its overarching aesthetic, The Tracey Fragments co-stars Toronto rockabilly punk Slim Twig as a Tim Burton caricature of Pretty in Pinks Duckie and boasts a score by Broken Social Scene; it would all swagger dangerously close into hipster-trash territory if not for Pages pathos and wit, honest to blog.