Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Dead Girl

I don't know why, but as I perused the aisles of Blockbuster the other night (aisles that I have practically memorized), this DVD just happened to catch my eye. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's a subconscious fascination with the morbid. Anyway, I picked up The Dead Girl and was astounded at the list of what I consider to be A-list actors, and at the fact I'd never even heard of this 2006 release.

When I saw Brittany Murphy listed, my mind made an inaudible, 'Ahhhh' (Ahhhh in the bad, disappointed way, not like the Ahhhh you make when you see puppies). But then I continued to read: Toni Collette, Giovanni Ribisi (okay, he's questionable), Rose Byrne, James Franco (who only won me over last week with his performance in Pineapple Express), Josh Brolin, Marcia Gay Harden, and several others. Then I asked ChaCha what it got on RottenTomatoes and was pleasantly surprised to find out it received 74%. This resulted in a renting. An ensemble cast like that had to at least be interesting.

The film is made up of several vignettes with simplistic titles like 'The Stranger,' 'The Mother,' 'The Dead Girl.' Each vignette varies greatly in interest (often connected to the acting talent of the main players), although all are disturbing in there own way. In the same vein as Robert Altman's Short Cuts and P.T. Anderson's Magnolia, each seemingly unrelated story ends up being related, in some way or another, to the discovery of the body of a dead girl. I definitely can't say that all parts of the film are worth watching, but some definitely are (particularly the section with Rose Byrne).

Writer/director Karen Moncrieff doesn't have much experience writing or directing (to date, she's stuck mostly with TV, including directing an episode of Six Feet Under). But still there's something to her direction, the film definitely has some shining moments. The Dead Girl failed to achieve it's lofty ambitions (I'm pretty sure the limited release on December 29th meant she had award season dreams), but deserves respect for it's attempt at originality.

Rottentomatoes: 74% - Cream of the Crop: 63%

Rated R for language, grisly images and sexuality/nudity.


Magicman said...

Maybe I just have an unrefined movie mind, but to me, this movie was about dem bitches an' ho's, an' one of em dies.

blakecgriffin said...

I think we just have different lexicons...

Kate said...

I'm glad I remembered to read your blog. But now I feel bad that I talked during the entire movie while you were trying to review it.

I also am disappointed in myself for raving so much about Brittney Murphy, and she's the only one who caused you to sigh with negativity. However, my reasons for enjoying her have nothing to do with her acting abilities (or lack thereof), I simply find her oddly kooky and drugged up seemingly all the time, and for some reason this appeals to my more rigid, buttoned-up self. Good review, accurate even to my taste.