Friday, May 18, 2012

IFC Midnights: Entrance

Suzy is carless in LA.  That is about as depressing as it gets.  Frankly, she might as well let her psycho-stalker kill her, if she really has one.  Regardless, there is something seriously amiss with her life in Dallas Hallam & Patrick Horvath’s Entrance (spoilery trailer here), which opens a week of late night screenings at the IFC Center tonight and is now available via IFC Midnight’s VOD platforms.

Suzy has a nice pad and her roommate Karen’s friends have accepted her readily enough.  Yet, she has yet to make any deep human connections in LA and her barista job is profoundly unfulfilling.  There is something wrong with this picture, but we cannot determine if it is because of Suzy or someone around her.

Initially, Entrance sets off every mumblecore alarm bell, depicting Suzy’s workaday life in mind-numbingly repetitive detail.  However, there are occasional what-the-heck-was-that moments that should not be ignored.  Hallam & Horvath are steadily inching towards something and it is rather shocking precisely because of the time we have invested in the scrupulously ordinary characters.

Actually, there is nothing commonplace about Suziey Block’s performance as Suzy (with the more conventional spelling).  Quite attractive in a real world way, she withstands the co-directors’ harsh close-ups, vividly portraying a woman on the verge of an ambiguous breakdown.  While the deliberately grubby DIY style might put off some viewers, most will find themselves caring about the increasingly alienated protagonist, despite her frequently problematic nature.

Hallam & Horvath shrewdly use the LA setting, but not necessarily with love.  Instead, it represents an isolating, compartmentalized environment.  The city also attracts a lot of sketchy types.  There is indeed a reason why Entrance is being released as a Midnight special, but explaining why would give the game away.

Co-written by the co-directors with most of their principle cast, Entrance represents an unusually patient genre outing, taking considerable (perhaps even excruciating) time and effort to set up the third act that pulls the rug out from everyone’s feet.  Though not another found footage film (thankfully), it feels substantially more real, which ultimately makes it far more disturbing.  A slow build that eventually pays off, Entrance is recommended for genre fans who appreciate something a bit outside the norm.  Now available on VOD, it also screens for a week of midnights (or thereabouts) starting tonight (5/18) at the IFC Center in New York.