Clementine is the story of Karen. A young woman who has just broken up from a long relationship and is, understandably shattered by the experience, decides to go to a lake house that is owned by an ex of hers. However, there she meets Lana, and things get complicated again. It is a mix of being a coming of age drama and a thriller, I guess, about a hurt woman in a new relationship.
What I liked about this film was that there was an obvious passion for the project. The cast does well enough. They clearly have talent and their chemistry, particularly when they are wordlessly acting against each other. I can’t say that I am familiar with either of them, but I wouldn’t be against seeing either of them in more down the line. While I don’t have much of an ear for music, I thought that the score was very atmospheric and added to what tension the film had.
I also loved the long shots. At times there is an almost Hitchcockian in nature. They capture the character’s feeling of loneliness and emptiness perfectly. It is in these moments that the score accompanies so well. At times Clementine feels as melancholy as a Lars Von Trier film. I mean that as a positive.
Unfortunately, there is a major issue with Clementine. You see, the point of a film is to entertain you. Now, this can mean a bit of fun – mindless or lighthearted – which is what the film world is filled with lately. Or it could mean something that is slow, methodical and demands you to think – the questions posed, and the artistry of the project can be entertaining in their own right.
The Evil Dead is fun, The Witch is not, but The Witch is so masterfully crafted and keeps you guessing and thinking long after it’s done that it is still entertaining. It is all about how the film engages with the audience. I bring this up because Clementine is one of the least engaging films I have seen in some time.
The story has the potential to be something great – a close look into Karen’s mind that will be relatable to those who have had a rough breakup. But despite the suspense we don’t really go anywhere with it, or at least it feels like we don’t. Things happen, certainly, but they all feel small in the big picture. And when the actors talk it is with that very slow, quiet whispering – the same way that all people speak in an M Night Shyamalan film. The dialogue suffers as a result, falling flat and making the film feel more uninteresting.
There are also times when the score and camerawork came as a detriment. While the long shots are effective and the opening scenes are gorgeous, the rest felt pedestrian and just disengaging. The score is loud in this film, perfect for quieter scenes but it gets annoying and distracting in the louder or more dialogue heavy ones.
Despite some promise I simply did not enjoy Clementine. It feels like the bad points were just missing the mark and more practice would sort it out. It felt like one more draft of the script or adjusting the shots the slightest bit would have helped matters. As it is, I find it hard to recommend. If it sounds of interest then give it a go, otherwise I wouldn’t bother.
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