Sunday, October 10, 2010

Reflections of Evil (2002)

I found this review I wrote in 2002 or 2003. I did some minor editing it to make the worst spelling mistakes disappear. /Fred
I think Reflections of Evil is a pure masterpiece of art. Really. I have the deepest respect for this kind of filmmaking.

It’s not horror. It’s not splatter. It’s satire. The best satire I’ve seen in years.

I wrote this just have seeing it the first time:

"Reflections on reflections - Damon Packard, genius or just insane?

One sunny afternoon a strange spam-mail dropped into my mailbox. I first thought had to do with a project I was working with, but I soon realized that this was something completely different. It was about Damon Packard’s epic movie about a man called Bob and his trip through the streets of LA: Reflections of evil.

Damon wanted to give me a copy for free and I mailed him at once. I needed to see this flick. And after studying the very cryptic official page I was going mad. I MUST SEE THIS MOVIE!

I’ve never been so curious about a movie like I was this time. When I hadn’t received a copy in almost one week and really felt sick. I wasn’t myself. I wanted to hear the mailman drop the package in my mailbox.

My angst disappeared on Friday morning. The mailman had a gift for me. A DVD from Damon Packard!

A friend of mine got a copy the day before and said that this was a very strange flick, so I just manage to keep away from the movie for a couple of hours. This was something special, and I didn’t want to see it at once. But what the f**k.

This is the story of a slightly tragic salesman. Or is he really tragic? Roaming the streets of LA, furious and clearly out of his mind. It’s like a road movie, but inside the heart of tinseltown. The city of happiness and madness. It’s not only about tinseltown, it’s about the American society, the fury of the people. This is the country that never sleeps and never seems to get some rest. People are furious and sad, confused and obsessed. Some reviewer said it made him think about Apocalypse Now - and I agree. This is the ultimate inner travel I’ve seen in many years.

Slowly the city around Bob is turning very weird. The hate comes out and the paranoia is over us. Helicopters is watching everything, cops are everywhere and people are just insane.

During the time Bob is attacked by homeless people and dogs we’re turning back in time, till 1971. Bob, his mother and older sister is visiting Universal Studios and taking the tour. His sister disappears and get involved with weird sect that makes her one of them. She dies of an overdose (I think). No she want to save Bob from the hell he’s in, from beyond the grave.

Let me say one thing, this is a movie that’s helluva hard to describe. The best way to understand it, is to see it. Get a copy!

Packard shot the movie on 16mm, super8 and Digital8 on a very low budget. But this don’t mean it looks like crap. Packard and his cameraman is clearly very talented and the jumping from documentary dogme-style to classic dolly-shots that works very well. The light is most of the time very tight and moody. Some people seem to be disturbed by the strange and noise soundtrack, but not me.

I know, I’m being hypnotized by this flick. I can’t help it. It had something that spoke to me very clearly. Maybe was it the inspiration from J. Kennedy Tools novel Confederacy of Dunce's or the surreal and unconventional storytelling? You’re pulled into Bob's strange mind and all the people he meet. And it’s impossible to stop.

Packard goes from very cheap physical humour to Woody Allen-esque dialogues, from Jess Franco and Jean Rollin to Herzog and Fassbinder. The inspiration clearly comes from the movies from the sixties and seventies and it works well.

Does Packard want to tell us something with this movie? Maybe I’m very wrong, but I think so. This is a story about a country falling apart. About people who don’t trust the system and the constant “big brother” watching over them. The fear of that somewhere there’s a couple of fat men in expensive suites that makes all the decisions of the country's future.

Packard seems to have a love-hate relation to America, Los Angeles and the entertainment industry. Universal Studios becomes the symbol of the cultural decay of the world and when it almost literary turns into living hell at the end, it becomes clearer. There’s only Damon Packard to make E.T. a terrifying experience. E.T. - the symbol for peace and happiness, cute children and the moral majority.

Probably some of you are just calling this movie crap. Some of you will just throw it in the garbage (please don’t do that) and some people, like me, will love it. Adore it.

Give Packard a movie contract and some money, let him do whatever he want. He deserves it.

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