Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Kirsten Dunst, Pilou Asbaek, Joe Cole, Jack Kilmer, Susan Traylor, Steph DuVall
Written by: Laura Mulleavy, Kate Mulleavy
Directed by: Laura Mulleavy, Kate Mulleavy
MPAA Rating: R for drug use, language and a scene of violence
Running Time: 100
Date: 09/22/2017
IMDB

Woodshock (2017)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Hot Pot

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Written and directed by fashion industry sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy, this experimental, drug-hazed movie certainly looks interesting, but whatever it's up to, it doesn't seem to have achieved it.

In Woodshock, Theresa (Kirsten Dunst) works at a marijuana dispensary. Her mother is terminally ill and she treats a little pot with a mysterious chemical that kills her mother and ends her suffering. But this choice sends Theresa into a drifting, depressed state, and she begins smoking pot infused with chemicals. Each time she does this, her mental state becomes dreamier and more hallucinatory, as she wanders around the house performing various tasks (or believing she's performing various tasks).

Meanwhile, at the dispensary, Theresa has mixed up the deadly chemical between customers, a sick old man and a healthy young man. Her boss Keith (Pilou Asbaek) becomes distraught, and her boyfriend (Joe Cole) doesn't know what to do. Can Theresa pull herself out of her dark place?

Shot like a TV commercial or an artsy music video, the camera drifts around, rolling in and out of focus, catching different light patterns through windows or trees, with random jump cuts to show the passing of unmarked time. Kirsten Dunst clearly put some hard emotional work into her role — somewhat similar to Melancholia — capturing a feel of deep depression and reflection, but the movie simply leaves her hanging.

Her relationships with the other men in the movie seem almost random, meaningless. Eventually, it feels as if the movie has left us behind, with no indication as to where it has actually gone. In truth, it's just plotted enough that it fails as an experimental film and it's just experimental enough to fail as a narrative film. It's too tentative to make a definitive move in either direction. However, the cool music in the movie comes from deep within a hipster's record collection and is at least worth a listen.

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