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Film Two Stars

Sometimes I wonder if I should rate out of ten or out of five, because in that middle ground between two and three there seems a gulf. That being the halfway mark, and the distance either side of that seems really harsh. Yet I know that ten stars is just too much, it's all too easy to miss out so many of them.

It's a dilemma that hits when you see a film such as Intentions, a quiet, character based film that has some amazingly strong aspects, and some poor ones. It balances out, but I really do feel it belongs nearer the three than the two.

The great thing about this film is that it's a good, strong character drama with a great script. It's well written with realistic lines and situations that developed in a way that you could believe would happen, rather than feeling manipulated in so many larger film scripts. It's the characterisation and their lines that really make this film work, and I'm surprised that the writer\director Luane Beck hasn't gained more credits since.

The film was engaging and you genuinely felt interested in the characters and their decisions, however I do feel that more could have been made of the emotional quandaries that the main characters found themselves in. There needed some more work to pull the audience into these situations rather than, as I felt I was, watching the events as a third person.

There are a few moments that could have been really intense, for instance the scenes where the main characters are pushed into a confrontation together and prejudices appear, while other characters are forced to make instant choices. These moments are very powerful, and the writing and acting portray them, yet although I saw and felt this it did have the feeling of a play where I was watching the events rather than feeling pulled in and confronting the issues myself as the characters do.

Something else that was handled wonderfully were the scenes of lesbian love making. Now I am very deliberately writing love making as opposed to sex scenes because of the way these scenes made me feel. I wasn't watching some sordid encounter, nor was I being a typical bloke and becoming fixated by them, I genuinely saw the tenderness in these scenes. Beck and the actors did great jobs of making these moments very intimate and passionate.

The acting was good for the most part, although a couple of the actors stumbled and delivered some laboured lines, but mostly the performances were real and delivered the belief and reality of the script well.

There were a couple of poor points with the sound throughout the film and the editing in a couple of scenes. A pivotal restaurant scene where the two main characters are showing feelings for each other seems quite a mess of editing, where lines are delivered off camera as we gaze at a hand or neck. I think I understand what was trying to be shown here, and that was the speakers viewpoint as those small tell tale glances and looks are made between people who are flirting and beginning to realise that there is some chemistry between them. However it just seems bitty and jumpy.

Although the soundtrack choice is good through the movie the actual sound and the levels are handled really poorly. Sometimes the voices of the actors are very low and you'll turn the volume up, then the next second you're having to turn it back down. Then when the soundtrack is playing over the film you find that it's too loud, or drowning out some dialogue, and it seems as though the sound editing is letting the film down somewhat.

There are also a number of lipsynching issues on the DVD I watched, now that may have been down to the screener copy that I received, I'm really not sure, but at times it was very apparent.

Although none of these things are too big to spoil the strengths of the movie, when combined together they do pull you out of the film all too easily and they detract from some of the stronger and more emotional moments.

However I'm still a big fan of the writing in this film, and did enjoy the reality of the situations and the lines delivered by the characters. It would be interesting to see what Beck does next.



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