Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The Rise and Fall of Richard Kelly

Richard Kelly's Career

I had always prided myself on the fact I was the one who 'discovered' Donnie Darko. I know everyone thinks this, BUT YOU'RE WRONG. After reading a short film review in the Sunday Times Culture about a teenager who sees giant bunny rabbits and forsees the end of the world, I quickly rushed out to my local Blockbuster (remember those!?) and rented a copy. Hours later, my teenage mind was literally being blown by Kelly's incredible knack for adolescent dialogue:

I can honestly say it was the film that sparked my love for cinema: It was interesting, yet entertaining. It was arty, yet funny. It was a sci-fi movie, yet a good sci-fi movie! A true David Lynch for the next generation. And the amazing thing was: people went nuts for it! When you overhear a group of chavy teenage girls on a train discussing the possible philosophical endings of the film, you know the film's reached mass appeal.

Then 5 years later, Kelly brought out Southland Tales... ahem.

Despite an amazing (and yet highly deceptive) trailer, the movie was an absolute stinker. Taking on board everyone's (including critics) rather hyperbolic comments on Donnie Darko, Kelly's head understandably grew very big. So big in fact, that his next movie was inevitably going to be a self-congratulatory mesh of convoluted ideas. His faith in his audience to research the film (via graphic novels released before and after the film) was simply arrogant, especially for a second feature.

Despite bad casting choices, I think they did quite well considering the script.

When it premiered at Cannes in 2006 it was greeted with an average 1.1 rating from the dailies, and even booing at the screenings (not very common for a prestigious film festival). Kelly jumped to it's defence, stating the critics "didn't get it" and enforced the fact it needed to be seen as a whole multi-media package (internet, comics, animations etc). Since then Kelly has struggled to get any decent gigs in Hollywood, before finally landing on The Box in 2009. I haven't watched it yet, but I've been told the ending is reminiscent to the ending of Indiana Jones 4; bullshit basically.

So do we have a new M. Night Shyamalan on our hands, or can Kelly redeem himself before it's too late? He is currently working on a thriller "set in Manhattan in the year 2014. We hope to shoot the movie in 3-D, and part of the movie would be filmed using full CGI motion capture."

Lets not get our hopes up, eh?

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