Wednesday, June 15, 2011

#139: Decalogue IX

Beginning with Decalogue IX and at the behest of a friend, yours truly is beginning a a series of 10 reviews on Decalogue- the movie that Stanley Kubrick once mentioned as the only masterpiece he had seen in his lifetime. I was thinking if I should pack all in one but that didn't seem such a good idea. After all, Kieslowski even made two films on two of those chapters and one would have to review them independently. Besides, each of the chapters have enough of a kernel that should be looked at individually. I am going to use a standard template for each of these so that the inevitable comparisons become easier for a reader and this serves as a ready reckoner for anyone who wants to sample a Decalogue or discuss each of these individually.

To facilitate such a comparison, instead of my standard rating, I will rank each of the ten chapters in ascending order of preference, so the least likeable one will get 1 out of 10 and so on. Before we get on with it, should you like to read up a bit on what the Decalogue was all about, this will be a good place to start.

Chapter: Thou shalt not covet your neighbor's wife.

Gist: An impotent man suspects his wife of cheating on him. What does he do about it and how does it affect their relationship.

Script: Linear, no surprises, lacked an impact towards the end.

Acting: Intense and effective, especially that of Roman (Piotr Machalica), the husband. We see the movie from his point of view. His wife (Ewa Błaszczyk) plays an effective second fiddle and their depiction of their relationship is such that it easily enables us to connect with their problems.

Technical craft: Piotr Sobociński, the DOP had pulled out all stops in Trois Couleurs:Rouge and made a beauty out of it. Its not a fair comparison but there were no magical moments in this one. That goes for the editing too. The grim background score on the other hand did accentuate the drama.

Piece de resistance moments: None.

In a nutshell: Decalogue IX has an interesting premise and loses no time in establishing it. It's lacunae however lies in a tepid storyline that falls short in engaging you as a viewer. In my opinion, this will goes down as the weakest link of the lot.

Decalogue Rating: 1/10
P.S: Rating here implies a relative rank compared to the other 9 chapters and not an absolute rank in itself.