Thursday, 6 February 2014

Lord of Tears (2013)

This is a short review I did on Facebook back when the film came out. It ended with a discussion with the director Lawrie Brewster.

AL: Watched it on Thusday. Pretty good, creepy atmosphere, cool static cinematography, but terrible lead actor. His bearded friend would have been much better I think. Also the static shots led to too many edits. Instead of just sticking with the one shot of a scene and using the script and actors to tell the story it would use 20 different angles/filters/insects/spooky trees instead. Overall pretty good. Look forward to their next.

LB: Thanks for the comments guys! Terrible is a bit ott - I thought he played the role perfectly as an innocent/slightly camp/childlike man but hey ho agree to disagree but damned glad you enjoyed the movie and that you're looking forward to the next. Which hehe... we're in the middle of producing and guess whose the lead in that Andrew Liverod but the other lad you liked Thanks again guys! Big thanks to Pete Ellott for heads up and welcome here too!

AL: Lawrie: I think it was the fact that he was a little too teary fom the start rather than a gradual building of tension and hysteria - better Edward Woodward than Jack Nicolson. I really did like the static camerawork though - Kurosawa's one of my favourite directors and I wish other directors would follow suit. Don't get me wrong, I'm forever grateful that these indie films exist and that people like you have the balls to make them.

LB: Oh yeah man it's all good, im a horror fan too though so I've got an opinion just like you on characters/performances (and it's from that perspective I'm talking from.) Get this right... there are folks that LOVE his performance, I mean think it was great. Bet that sounds insane if you disagree right? but they did, I've heard it... read it... been told it. So there you have it. Now... get this... here are some folks that loved him and hated Lexy's performance for Eve hehe... As a director, every performance on screen is because that is exactly what I intend to give the audience. If he seems vulnerable soft and campy - well, well I meant him that way but I've found (and I digress here as this isn't related to you) that some guys are offended by his characterisation (which I kinda intended) just as some women are by Lexy's (which I've noticed in feedback from some.)

LB: Oh and yep Kurosawa is among mine too, as is Ken Russell actually haha (though I'm not a director like him per say!)

AL: Ah, it's really not that I thought him too effeminate, camp - that's not really me at all. It would have been awful if he'd been all Bruce Willis It's more that I prefer internal angush rather than external until it all become too much and a beakdown ensues. Does that make sense? Oh god, we're sounding like a pair of luvies! Another thing I did love was the Owl man's lines - terrific - very Lovecraftian!

LB: Hahaha and yep you're citiing something more on in the school of realism / nautralism but we have a sense of emotional theatricality in the film as intentional (in it's homage to the 50s/ 60s. It's subtle but intentional. With our next film we're producing we have a folk/horror 70s/gritty kinda feel. Think a deeply disturbing supernatural horror (think Straw Dogs involving daemonic ravens.) Part of my style of directing is not to embrace a style too obviously either sometimes leaving audiences wrong footed (which they can love or sometimes not love.) The Owlman I adore, and the credit to his dialogue all goes to our writer Sarah, and what I can say is that we will more of him! I'd love to produce a trilogy with it in time!

AL: One part of the film I wasn't sure about was the maternal relationship between the young James and Eve and the adult, sexual one. Was this driven by James and what he needed from Eve at the time?

LB: Yeah well I would describe it more as a maternal and romantic relationship. To me it appears that Eve initiates the relationship - though it is welcomed by a lonely James.

She comes along with the stew hehe, dances for him, joins him in the pool, kisses him etc.

There is a sub conscious attachment to Jamie, as the child she once cared for as a nanny (that she has forgotten, just as she has forgotten she is deceased.)

AL: I guess something like that was needed to keep the real relationship hidden until the big reveal.

LB: or better than forgotten - is repressed to say. Part of that lust for Jamie is a lust for life too, though that too is sub conscious. But the feelings are real, there was a bond between them (as nanny and child) though not a romantic one presumably haha, but as adults meeting out with the memory of that past, but with affections still there subconsciously, it was able to become a romantic relationship.

Well the relationships are always real - before and after the big reveal, it's just us as the audience that are catching up hehe - and the characters, with the revelations - but their feelings are always real.

Even when Eve is transformed, she doesn't kill James at the very end, once she finally has him in the basement. But spares him.

AL: Also, the Japanese influence at the end. How did you see that working within a traditional British, gothic ghost story. It did work though as you didn't break Japanese ghost story "rules".
Oh, and all ravens are demonic - they seem to made for zoom shot of their eyes with a corresponding CAAW!

LB: Yeah there is a great J-Horror influence (I love that sub-genre) and oh what are the rules though haha Yeah well the ravens have a role to play in Lord of Tears (notice the caws that foreshadow important events in the film).

These are referential in our sequal, in fact there are references aplenty between our films and even the product designs/ artworks etc - all part of this big mythic storytelling we're trying to achieve

AL: I do love that idea of world-building you have. Wondering about the 70's influences for the new film - I notice you mentioned Peckinpah's Straw Dogs - Argento? Anyway that's it for me tonight - all the best to you, Sarah and the rest of the cast and crew. Apologies for saying Euan's performance was terrible - maybe not the best choice of words.

LB: Pretty extreme choice haha do consider that you're placing him at the level of the worst performances ever. Very extreme haha - like all those cheesy slashers with terrible performances etc.

I'd say less so Argento and more like um... Freidkin (in terms of bleak intensity) and Don't Look Now It's a weird mix!

Original letterboxd review