review by Kris Williams
Hey its another
independant film shot on digital video! Man, we just can't get enough of those
can we? 'Tadpole' is just another example of a DV movie that should have been
shot of film. But lets talk about that later.
'Tadpole' is about 15 year old Oscar Grubbman and his return home from school for Thanksgiving. We are introduced to Oscar and immediately know that he is not your average 15 year old. He reads Voltaire and speaks french and won't
have anything to do with girls his age. He goes for older women and happens to be in love with his stepmother. But accidentaly gets stuck sleeping with her best friend. The rest of the movie is about Oscar dealing with this situation while realizing who he is and blah blah blah, its all very 'The Graduate'.
I was lucky enough to see 'Tadpole' a month or so before it got released in theaters. I was also lucky enough to see it with the director, Gary Winick, there to answer any questions I had. It was a packed screening. I viewed the film in the small quarters of The Screening Room In Manhattan. Since the screening was sponsored by the Association of Independant Video and Filmmakers most of the audience consisted of people from the New York film community. And to my surprise most of the questions were pertaining to the use of digital video. Which, if I were the director, would bother me. No one would have been asking these questions if it were shot of film. It seemed that while the movie was cute and would have done well either way, it was being viewed not as a new film, but as a new film shot on dv.
I, for one, don't really like the idea of a narrative being shot on video. Experimental narratives, like Richard Linklater's 'Tape' or documentaries are fine, and many times the most economical way to do things, but a narrative film is supposed to take the audience out of their own lives completely and put them somewhere else for a couple hours. That's hard to do when you're watching something that looks like a home movie your parents shot.
When done well, digital video can look really good, but it looked awful in 'Tadpole'. Gary Winick's excuse was that the cinematographer didn't care or know what he was doing. Well, thats a shame but it didn't help me at all when I was
watching blue video. I can't imagine what the film looked like before Miramax spent all the money it took to touch it up.
And so yeah, the film was cute and not so original, but maybe if it was shot on film I would have written a review about that instead of writing about how it should have been.
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