I’m all for art as film. I’m all for writers and directors taking risks and pushing boundaries. But, if you do so, you have to accept that more often than not, you will miss the mark, sometimes by a very wide margin.
Writer and director Amanda Kramer (“Paris Window”, “Bark (Short)”) and co-writer Benjamin Shearn (“Bark (Short)”), attempt to look at the minds of young women who are trapped after an apparent earthquake.
Attempt they might, fail they do. Ladyworld is tedious in the extreme, even at just an hour and 33 minutes, you will want it to be over after less than 30.
Whilst all the actors are great and perform out of their skins here to try and inject…something…into this film, it simply isn’t there.
You have no idea where the women are, school is mentioned but if you try and figure out why that would be the case your brain will explode.
You have no back stories for any characters, each one is a cliché and as thin as the paper they were written on.
From the moment they walk around this ‘house’ after the earthquake you are immediately thinking why don’t they smash the top windows? The dirt doesn’t go all the way to the top of any of the windows, there’s a good few inches of gap.
Smash the windows, draw some dirt in, climb out. Problem solved. But no, instead, just to hammer home that you’re going to have to sit with the women, Piper, Annalise Basso (“Captain Fantastic”, “Ouija”), the “mean one” says they couldn’t squeeze through the windows, pointless thinking about it. Absolute rubbish.
Because of this, and because the windows are obviously there so the director can get some light into the rooms to film, you have zero sense of claustrophobia or of being trapped.
Then there’s a time, a relative construct I grant you, but one that, particularly in a film such as this, it’s useful to mark the passing of.
But we don’t. It appears as though these women go from relatively normal to completely off their rockers in about two or three days. If that is what would happen, god help us all.
I see what Kramer and Shearn were attempting here. I can see the comparisons to things like High-Rise, Buried, perhaps even a very, very soft Clockwork Orange.
But to even mention those films in the same breath as Ladyworld feels like a slant. Ladyworld is a poor relation in comparison. It’s the fake watch you bought that all your mates take the piss out of you for because it says “Ralex” instead of “Rolex”.
It wants to be smart, clever, to leave you asking questions, pondering meanings. Instead, it leaves you wishing you’d never watched the movie in the first place. If it wasn’t for the performances, Ladyworld would be getting a much, much lower score.
20th September 2019
THE QUICK SELL
Eight teenage girls become trapped in an endless birthday party after a massive (imaginary?) earthquake.