Tuesday, 1 December 2009


Sally Potter’s unusual murder mystery Rage describes the experiences of a group of individuals working at different levels in the fashion industry. The story unfolds through a series of ‘confessionals’ shot by unspeaking schoolboy Michelangelo on his camera phone. The characters indulge the viewer directly in their experience of the industry, and their understanding of the catastrophic events of the week in question, a plain block colour filling the background. As two models die in mysterious circumstances, the characters grow paranoid of their exposure to other people, grilling Michelangelo about his decision to upload these video confessionals online.

Essentially, Rage is a theatre piece for the Web 2.0 generation. The film was simultaneously released at the cinema, on DVD, via Internet and on mobile phones to ensure that, like the characters within it, the film was hidden from no-one. The target is two-fold, affording equal vitriol to self-important bigwigs and disingenuous YouTube philosophers. Themes are brought to the surface almost immediately: identity, duplicity, honesty. But one can’t help feeling that Potter got a bit greedy with her concept. While the simple shooting style is daring, the film manages to disengage its audience with the layers of pretence at play, to the point that it’s hard to tell whether it is deliberate. In short, the film itself is no less superficial than the caricatures within it. And while the cast is spectacular on paper, there is something grating about seeing some of the more seasoned actors constrained by these experimental parameters.

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