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USA 2009
Directed by
Alex Ross Perry
73 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
1.5 stars


Watching  writer-director Alex Ross Perry’s debut film about a World War II soldier (Riley O’Bryan) searching for V-2 rockets in a Northern European forest (in reality a forest in Vermont) I couldn’t help but recall Stanley Kubrick’s debut feature film, Fear And Desire about four soldiers whose plane has crashed behind enemy lines in an unnamed country.  Aside from the broad communality of subject matter, both films are notable more for what they are not (conventional narrative cinema) than what they are.

Whereas Kubrick’s film was an anti-war allegory, Perry’s film, as the end credits acknowledge, cherry-picks from Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow as our dispirited  protagonist wanders around looking for a companion rocket to the one he has already found (the US Army really did sent soldiers to look for and retrieve unexploded German V-2 rockets at the end of World War II), eating bananas and encountering various oddballs and a talking octopus along the way, whilst periodically, 1920s songs appear on the soundtrack

None of this is likely to mean anything to you if you haven’t read Pynchon’s novel or have an appetite for mock-serious irony. To Perry’s credit he has done quite well in this latter respect although I found the effect more soporific than amusing. There is some evident talent here (a penchant for absurdist humour is one thing but maintaining it consistently as Perry does over a 73 minute stretch is another) but whether Perry is another Kubrick remains to be seen




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