Thursday, November 26, 2020

Movie with Abe: Lovers Rock

Lovers Rock
Directed by Steve McQueen
Released November 27, 2020 (Amazon Prime)

Films, unlike plays, tend to take advantage of the ability to cut together scenes to feature multiple locations and have their characters travel to places rather than simply talk about them. Yet there is something to be said for how telling an entire story in one place can in fact strengthen it, inviting viewers in to experience the same surroundings and not allowing them to escape to other settings. It’s a bold choice in cinema that may not work for all audiences, but it may also be able to offer more to contemplate thanks to the created boundaries of its portrayed world.

In the 1980s, a group of Black people are gathered at a house party. Over the course of the night, which is filled with music and occasional confrontations, Martha (Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn) and Franklyn (Micheal Ward) form a connection through looks, dance, and interaction. There is something about being together in that house that only serves to intensify their feelings, and the rhythm of the songs serves as a score of sorts to guide their romance.

This film is the second in an anthology series called “Small Axe” directed by Steve McQueen, best known for the Oscar-winning “12 Years a Slave.” After the first film, “Mangrove,” this feels like something out of a completely different world. The characters don’t interact with police officers, and they’re left alone to sort out their own issues within the confines of the house. Plot is not the emphasis here, but instead it’s about the relationships that are building, and the way in which one night can truly feel like forever even if it is certain to come to an eventual end.

This film’s title does a good job of explaining its subject matter. Compared with “Mangrove,” this film is far less engaging in a traditional way. Remaining mostly within the confines of the house is a technique that works well to underscore the closeness building between people who don’t know each other, but, as a result, there’s not all that much that happens, making this film’s brief sixty-eight-minute runtime feel like an eternity. As the music repeatedly increases in volume, songs serve as the more effective anchor, making things more interesting for a few moments before returning to a decent but far from invigorating portrait of passion. It may prove most resounding if watched on its own and considered more as a music piece than a mediocre movie.


No comments: