Tuesday 13 March 2018

Crime Wave (1985 - not the Raimi one, the better Canadian film)

Image result for paizs crimewaveI've always wanted to see this since I read about it on Canuxploitation. A sort of mock-documentary narrated by a 12-year-old girl, Kim about her neighbour Steven Penny, a scriptwriter who wants to make it in the world of "colour crime movies", a sort of alternative noir subgenre. Made in Canada on almost no budget by star John Paizs, it's very strange, somewhere between childlike and childish, with a kiddy theme tune, but it does go down dark passages. I thought it wouldn't live up to the tribute act-themed opening, but there are some neat jokes, i.e. using the same cameras as "Chekhov from Star Trek and Yoko Ono", and taking the mick out of the NFB.  Its narrator Kim is likable but kind of annoying. A straighter more Gordon Pinsent-ish narration might have worked better, or at least more of the punchy narrator used in the "beginnings" and "endings" Steven writes. It does one's patience. I do see a lot of parallels with my own work. Not helped by the soundtrack that sounds like something from a Canadian kids' show from the period.  There are some moments of sensation - i.e. killer rats. But it feels like Paizs had too many things going on his mind, but not enough mileage for a plot. The weirder moments like the Nelson Mingus costume are entertaining, as is a meeting between two creeps soundtracked to the Birdy Song and the celebratory dance sequence. Shots go on for too long, though, e.g. the voyeuristic Body Double-esque bit. There's also scenes of a cowboy riding Steven like a bull, while a Crazies-like "secret stuff" virus contaminates the town, as Hazmat-suited goons run about. The meta-ending works, and suddenly the film becomes as interesting and as punchy as the opening, with such sights as "Steven Penny World" and more glimpses of gory colour crime movies. It is unpredictable even going as far as Steven getting superpowers and a cameo from Christ, and there is a charm to it (a sort of 50s 80s charm, if Shakin' Stevens were a movie), but it is wildly uneven, like Shaky. But unlike Shaky, there's nothing really like it. Recommended, because it

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