Twentynine Palms (2003) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
Two thumbs down. To be honest, it isn't even worth the energy required to turn a thumb down for this laughably inept movie.
Scoop's comments in white:
Twentynine Palms is an arty, experimental kind of film from French auteur Bruno Dumont.
The New York Times wrote:
I suppose a lot of you already realize that you need to avoid this film, unless you're really into that whole humorless and pessimistic Hobbesian aesthetic. Whatever that means.
If you're curious, I'll describe the film in detail to give you its full, rich, Hobbesian flavor.
A couple drives a red Hummer through the desert. He's an American photographer who seems to be scouting a shooting location in the desert. He's a new kind of photographer in that he doesn't seem to own any photographic equipment. She's his Russian girlfriend. He doesn't speak Russian and she doesn't speak English, so they communicate in halting French.
They drive. He talks on a cell phone while she sleeps. His conversation is tedious. "Yeah, I'm going to Twentynine Palms. I'll see you when I get back." They stop to get gas. They fill the tank in real time. They stop and watch a train go by. The camera is placed in a stationary location while each train car passes in real time. The cars all seem identical. When the train passes, they cross the tracks and wander among a farm of windmills. They drive some more, speaking little. They go to a motel and mess around in the swimming pool. They debate about where to eat. They pause a long time between questions and answers. They go to a Chinese restaurant and order their food in real time. They sleep.
The next day, they stop and wander through the desert naked, again in real time. They attempt sex with minimal success. They climb some rocks. The lie down in the sun. They walk back.
We are now 40 minutes into the film, and that is all that has happened.
In the next 50 minutes or so, they have some great conversations. I think I may have misled you earlier. I should have said that they fail to communicate in French. They buy an ice cream. She says it is good. She says it is not good. She says she loves short hair, Marine style. She says she'll hate him if he wears his hair short. She is clearly not in her right mind, but the film doesn't really explore that in any way. It just is so. She catches him masturbating over a Jerry Springer show in which a man admits raping his daughter. She asks him if he would rape their daughter. He looks at her with disgust.
They walk to a supermarket and back in real time. They have VERY loud sex in real time. When he climaxes, he screams like Johnny Weissmuller in the Tarzan movies. They drive through the desert some more. They sit around a hotel room some more. She wanders around outside at night. He goes out to find her. They sit separately for a while, then they have a wrestling match in the middle of the street. They sleep.
The next day, they drive through a very rough stretch of desert. Nothing happens. Suddenly they are rear-ended. A pick-up trick drives them off the road. The random strangers from the truck pull them out of their Hummer, strip the woman, beat the man with a baseball bat, then sodomize the man. They do not rape the woman, but they force her to watch the man getting raped. The evildoers drive off.
The couple struggle back to their hotel room. He lies down. She goes for a pizza. Apparently she gets the wrong toppings, because when she returns, he stabs her to death ...
That isn't quite the ending. If you're really hooked, you can rest assured that there is even more rich ore from the same vein of existential angst.
You can tell Dumont is a foreigner, can't you? Talk about clueless.
Those pick-up truck dudes have to be the world's luckiest guys, eh? They decide to pull over a random Hummer in the desert, and
|Who in the American desert, armed with nothing more than a baseball bat, would take a chance on pulling over a Hummer? That is suicidal. You have to assume that no sensible people would take a Hummer deep into the unpaved parts of the desert without guns and flare pistols and knives and cell phones and other forms of protection. Yes, the photographer and his girlfriend were not sensible people, and could have been in the desert unprotected, but the crazy rednecks could not know that in advance. They had no idea who was in the vehicle!!||
I'll shut up. I guess you probably have figured out by now whether this is your kind of movie.
My own verdict: utter crap. Dumont is clueless, and didn't even bother to think up events which might have some possibility of occurring. The film is tedious and disjointed for all but the last 20 minutes. That final segment isn't boring, but it is filled with behavior which is totally unmotivated and illogical. It makes such legendary pointless films as Zabriskie Point (which this film resembles in certain ways) seem to be as incisive and eloquent as Henry V.
On the other hand, many, many critics disagreed. Some felt that it was a lesson in the tedium and randomness of the universe and other such high-falutin' existential concepts. I guess they must be right, because this film is a part of the universe, and it is certainly random and tedious.
Tuna's comments in yellow:
Twentynine Palms (2003) is a Bruno Dumont film.
Complete spoilers ahead.
played by Katia Golubeva, and David Wissak, played by
David Wissak, are driving backroads in the Southern
California desert. Why, we don't know. Periodically, they have sex.
Why? We don't know. Then they usually fight. Why? We don't know.
They stop in cheap motels each night, and have sex then a fight.
Again, we don't know why. The dialogue is an odd mixture of French
and English. Then, in the riveting conclusion, they are run off the
road by two men, who strip her, then anally rape him. Later, at the
motel, she goes out for pizza. When she returns, he stabs her to
death, then crawls naked into the desert to die.
|If the above makes sense to you, then you might want to rent this. The IMDb rating of 5.4 of 10 suggests that some think this was a good idea. To me, this was one of the stupidest films I have ever seen. Evidently Dumont was hoping to elicit an emotional response. My only response was wishing it would end. The best part of this film is that I will never need to see it again. Despite some critics, who proved that they can be as pretentious and clueless as Dumont, this is utter crap. No plot, no characterization, no motivation for anything that happens, and most of what happens is boring.|