by Jason Anderson, published on November 1, 2007 at 10:11 AM|
Marking local fave Bruce McDonalds long-awaited return to local screens with a new feature, The Tracey Fragments is a lot of things but timid aint one of them. Adapted from a novel by Maureen Medved, McDonalds latest is his most ambitious attempt to carve up the cinematic frame and give a head-butt to conventions.
Ellen Page plays the title role, a mouthy 15-year-old malcontent whose rage at the world literally fractures the screen, splitting it up into a dozen or more separate images at once. The narrative is similarly fragmentary, with scenes of raw realism set against high- and lowlights of Traceys fantasy life, an interior world where she casts herself as a celebrity vixen and girlfriend to Billy Speed (Slim Twig), the new boy at school.
But for all of the movies formal daring, McDonalds oblique strategies cant disguise the fundamentally mundane contours of Traceys familiar tale of teenage hell. The repetitious middle stretch mostly seems to consist of Page muttering f-bombs at the camera, her characters crisis growing less compelling as the truth behind it is revealed. In the exhilarating opening scenes and the haunting, long-take finale, McDonald realizes the potential of his exercise but its hard to shake the feeling that The Tracey Fragments content lags way behind its form.
Editorial Rating: 3 out of 5