There have been some notable and some not so notable films via the guys of the mumblecore movement. In this case the gents is question - Adam Wingard, Simon Barrett and Joe Swanberg – have done both good (see "A Horrible Way To Die") and bad (see "You’re Next") films. This time out they’re taking on what appears to be a quasi-erotic crime thriller and the news is not good. Set against the backdrop of fetish photography, "24 Exposures" feels like concepts and scenes that might have been cool separately but forced together in a very odd and unnatural way here makes for one film seriously out of focus.
Wingard stars as Billy, an intense photographer who specializes in what he calls fetish photography – pictures of women in various scenes of demise scantily clad. But real someone is copying his M.O. and acting out the dirty deeds for real, as women with whom he may have an association are popping up dead in the same fashion. Barrett enters the scene as an on-edge homicide detective assigned to the case and he begins to develop a fascination with the work of Billy.
That’s about all I can surmise out of the sopping wet mess that is "24 Exposures." I’ve been somewhat impressed but skeptical with the fast and loose style brought on by mumblecore, but it’s never quite felt this bad and amateurish before. The film literally feels like Director Swanberg didn’t know what he wanted or how the film would play out and then forced it together in the edit room as an experiment. (There is something to be said for vision guys!) Is the film an erotic journey about a man in love with his sick modeling subjects, a detective story where the lead investigator has more problems than the victims themselves, or simply a random stream of consciousness project to evoke varied emotions? (Anger being one!) No matter what the explanation, "24 Exposures" isn’t interesting to look at, interesting to follow, in fact it’s just not interesting at all. Both Wingard and Barrett walk through their already laughable surface roles here (they make Denzel Washington’s work in "Virtuosity" look Oscar worthy!) and all the women in this piece are used as forgettable naked pawns to keep genre fans watching. (Takes more than T&A guys!)
It’s come to a point where watching a film with any of the trio’s association has become more amateur and less entertaining – like watching a bunch of home movies only they think are cool. "24 Exposures" is one of the most self-congratulatory and shameful additions to the mumblecore movement yet – apparently art does have bounds.
"24 EXPOSURES" OPENS IN SELECT THEATRES AND VOD ON JAN. 24 FROM IFC MIDNIGHT.