Friday, September 10, 2010

Alexandra's Project (2003)

Rolf de Heer's Alexandra's Project is the kind of unknown film that doesn't oversell too much details about its story. While some may be fascinated, many, among those who've seen this Australian film, will be divided. At most, the film entertained me as much as a Hollywood blockbuster, but it was only the actors' performance that kept my attention.

The movie introduces us to Steve (Gary Sweet) is a man who seems to have it all. He lives in a peaceful neighbourhood, has a nine-to-five job that he likes, has two children (Samantha Knigge and Jack Christie) who loves him and a stable marriage with his wife, Alexandra (Helen Buday). On his birthday, Steve gets two surprises. The first one being a promotion at his job that he's been dying for.

This is why Steve leaves office earlier in order to get his second surprise. In fact, he believes that his wife and children prepared a surprise party for him. However, once he's at his house, Steve finds nobody and receives written instructions to play a video tape. In this tape, his wife and his children wishes him happy birthday. After she had asked her children to leave, Alexandra performs a strip-tease for Steve. Afterwards, she begins a monologue that aims to humiliate Steve and express her contempt for being his wife.

The first thing we can reproach to this film from Down Under is its slow pace. The film began so slowly that at some point, I wanted to press on the "stop" button and go to sleep. However, what made me stay on board was the envy to know what the whole story was about. As it turned out to be, Alexandra's Project was really entertaining, but the story itself became a little bit implausible the moment Alexandra expressed her disgust for being Steve's wife. Nonetheless, one has to recognize that despite being written like some blockbuster, Alexandra's Project is well carried by the performance of Gary Sweet and Helen Buday who do fully invest themselves.

With that said, Alexandra's Project is a film that has its good bits and bad ones. Once you get the past the first half of the film, you'll be entertained no matter what you think about the whole story.

Rating: 3/5

Origin:Australia (2003)
Length:103 minutes
Screenplay:Rolf de Heer
Director:Rolf de Heer
Starring:Gary Sweet and Helen Buday

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