Review: Wobble Palace

Review: Wobble Palace

Wobble Palace will definitely stand out as one of the more unique films I’ve seen this year. The story is a simple one, but it does open itself up to a lot of stylistic potential. Eugene and Jane are a couple struggling to keep their relationship intact. They’re bored of each other but both believe that moving on would be worse for each of them. They’ve both come to the decision of being in an open relationship. What follows is the different stories of the two of them meeting others, and the issues that come with bringing them all to the house that they both share. It can would as an art piece, a provocative drama or an off-beat comedy.

The film was directed and written by and stars Eugene Kotlyarenko, as Eugene. Wobble Palace is definitely his passion project. That comes through with the style and, of course, the passion displayed on screen. There is energy to the film, particularly in the editing. There are a number of strange scenes and tones displayed in the film, and yet neither feels out of place with others. It’s all very coherent and goes at a quick pace. 

The cinematography was not too dissimilar to that of a sit-com, with occasional movements to what feel like imitations of a small theatre. It’s not unwelcoming and does work well for the film at hand. In particular I liked any scene that involved the use of a mobile phone. We get that now familiar use of having the phone screen or text messages appearing on-screen. But with the ways it’s handled, with speed-scrolling, well placed photos and highlighting of plot important messages. It’s not new, but it feels new. That at the least has to be commended – they are the scenes that I’ll remember the most.

Unfortunately, what the film has in passion, it loses with its script and acting. The story was written well enough – again, the tone is balanced well and it’s all well-paced. The main issue is in character and dialogue. There is a problem when I get confused as to what’s happening because three of the characters are so similar that I was mixing them up. While Eugene and Jane are fairly distinct, the characteristics of the other characters were not only one-note, they all seem to share the same note to me. Not so much in what they do, but how they act and speak. Three of the male characters have dialogue that relies heavily on the phrases like “you know”, and they often take part in philosophical debates, usually on the same subjects. This wouldn’t have been so noticeable if the acting wasn’t fairly mediocre throughout. Kotlyarenko does the best job, successfully coming off as a socially awkward and desperate loser – the character’s voice, accompanied by way too many monologues did start to grate on me after a while, but otherwise he did well enough. Jane on the other hand, felt eerily similar to Kristen Stewart’s performance in the first Twilight film. She was monotoned, had too little expressions and, again, monologued way too much.

The major loss of the film is that I can’t tell really what it’s trying to be. There is a good argument for it being an arthouse film – some of the imagery and most of the dialogue back that up. But it does feel like it’s trying to be a compelling drama, with scenes like when Eugene shaves his head. It also feels like an off-beat comedy with scenes like a sex montage that reminded me a little too much of the one from Team America: World Police. Despite being coherent, well-paced and having a balanced tone in terms of its story, the overall film just felt awkward to me. That is how I would describe it – a passionate, yet awkward film. It wasn’t for me in the end, which is a shame as it started out strong. I do hold out hope for the creator’s next project, but I won’t revisit this one.

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Callum spends most free days with friends (mostly watching films, to be honest), caring for his dog, writing, more writing and watching films whenever he can find the chance (which is very often).


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