Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Tracey Fragments

With its incredible dramatic depth, The Tracey Fragments (2007) doesn't suit for people who are too used to blockbuster movies or Canadians who are drugged to American culture.

This Canadian movie adapted from a novel of Maureen Medved tells the story of Tracey Berkowitz (Ellen Page), a fifteen-year old disturbed girl who comes from a dysfunctional family. Grounded by her father because of her vulgar behaviour, Tracey is compelled to keep her little brother Sonny (Zie Souwand). However, on one cold day, Sonny disappears and Tracey decides to begin a seemingly endless journey in the streets of Toronto to find her brother at all cost.

Obviously, the most beautiful thing about this movie from Bruce McDonald (Roadkill) is the fact that the story begins very quickly. Without a doubt, that is mainly due to the story's structure that can nearly be compared to what we've seen in Pulp Fiction.

Despite looking confusing, Medved's script takes part in a fairly thorough study of Tracey, the main character. Therefore, while we're directly thrown in the action, that is Tracey's search for her brother, we come to understand Tracey. To that matter, McDonald elegantly splits the screen into different fragments of Tracey's memory. These multiple screens showing either Tracey's real life or wildest fantasies allow us to understand how 1) Tracey came to the point of being grounded; and 2) her motives for finding her brother.

As a result of such a remarkable scriptwriting by Medved along with the awesome editing from Jeremiah L. Munce and Gareth C. Scales that took about nine months, we're left with a mostly dark and harsh movie that can somehow be funny at some parts. Above all, The Tracey Fragments also leaves us with a fascinating main titular character that we come to care about no matter how the movie will end. Moreover, that interest for Tracey is also augmented by the unsullied performance by Ellen Page (Juno).

Finally, The Tracey Fragments is one of those movies that every Canadians must be proud of despite the low budget. Of course, it's a movie that is worth a look for its visual elegance and the magnificent performance of the cast strongly led by Page. Besides, as a movie that we watch for the appreciation of cinema as an art, The Tracey Fragments should be put in every Film students' corpus.

Rating: 4/5

***

Canada (2008)
Genre: Psychological drama
Screenplay: Maureen Medved
Directed by: Bruce McDonald
Starring: Ellen Page, Ari Cohen, Maxwell McCabe-Lokos and Slim Twig


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