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Burlesque - DANK Films Print E-mail
User Rating: / 2
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Written by Ray Casta   
Friday, 25 February 2011

Burlesque Poster Image on Severed Cinema

Directed by: Dominic Deacon
Written by: Dominic Deacon
Produced by: Anna Young
Cinematography by: Tim Metherall
Editing by: Dominic Deacon
Music by: Evan Kitchener
Cast: Haydn Evans, Christina Hallett, Virginia Bowers, and Poppy Cherry
Year: 2010
Country: Australia
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 65 min

Studio: DANK Films
Official Website: Burlesque

Just when you think you've figured out "Burlesque," it pulls the rug from under you.  It slaps you square in the face for even thinking you know where it's going.  It pokes fun at the idea the audience has seen every cinematic trick, but we become surprised at the tricks up the sleeve of writer/director Dominic Deacon.  I knew next to nothing about "Burlesque" before watching it.  Naturally, I thought I knew exactly how the movie would unfold.  But soon enough, I realized I was wrong.  Dead wrong.  No, this "Burlesque" does not star Cher or Christina Aguilera.  This is a splendidly acted and well crafted adult film that oozes slickness and ingenuity.

The damp, minimalist "Burlesque" is a cinematic labyrinth of sorts.  This structurally deceiving exploration of madness is a cold one.  As it toys with fantasy and reality, the movie is a genuine psychological mindbender.  It tells the story of acclaimed horror author, Frank Bannister (Haydn Evans).  The movie opens to reveal him on the phone, sulking in his drab apartment.  He looks depressed and exhausted.  Bottles of alcohol clutter his living room table.  Someone knocks on the door.  He opens it and a complete stranger, Tammy (Poppy Cherry) greets him.  She is mysterious and quite strange, as she welcomes herself in.  Tammy's friend Veronica (Christina Hallett) joins them.  She admits she has a thing for Frank and finds his stories sexy.  The journey they embark on burrows deep into Frank's psychosis.  For such a small feature, "Burlesque" functions as two separate entities.  It's a psychological thriller and a somber character study of Frank, an author of violent horror literature full of self-loathing and dread.  Yet, the movie features a "movie within" of sorts that plays with the audiences and holds us at the mercy of this sleek, twisty narrative.

In the Frank character, the movie is a sobering study of how we look at ourselves.  In a way, Frank's inner demons reveal how horror films and literature can mirror the subconscious.  There is a scene about midway through the movie where the characters of Frank, Tammy and Veronica engage in deep, intellectual discussion about violence and objectifying of women in horror.  The violence he writes about is what people want to see.  Nudity turns people on, and blood and guts "excite" them.  Nine times out of ten, the victims in his stories are always women.  Frank's explanation is that women are generally weaker than men, and they make way better victims.  He believes women as victims make the stories scarier.  Frank looks at Tammy and Veronica as "objects."  He calls them "strippers," although they correct him and tell him they are burlesque dancers.  The women question him about his victims, and we start to ask ourselves: Does Frank have dark, internal issues with women?  Is his writing a way of coping with the separation with his wife, Fioni (Virginia Bowers)?  Or has he always felt this way?

Burlesque Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

The visual mise-en-scène evokes the slick texture of a burlesque show, so much that the characters playfully represent the parody of watching a movie itself.  There is no laugh out loud comedy here, but it's a clever film that toys with the audience with a devilish grin on its face.  Frank's "movie" is unfolding simultaneously with the movie we, the audience, are experiencing.  This makes for an exciting watch, indeed.  Like Frank, we are pawns in the hands of the filmmakers, and we work our way to the truth through cinematic jester.  "Frank's movie" has been woven from his memories and creativity and his grip on reality is devastatingly fragile.  In a great Michael Haneke impression, "Burlesque" is confrontational in the way we view movies.  The character of Frank represents dual roles.  On one hand, he is almost like a horror director who is accused of misogyny by his "critics."  His critics are in the form of Tammy and Veronica, who question him as if it's a grand interrogation.  On another level, he symbolizes "the viewer," who does not know where the story will end up.

Imagination can be a very powerful thing, and Dominic Deacon understands this notion perfectly.  "Burlesque" is always one step ahead of the audience, but we have fun knowing we are in the hands of a filmmaker who knows what he's doing.  After all, the journey is the fun part.  It's the destination where we reach its dark and twisted catharsis.  The film plays a sick joke on the viewer, though it never insults us.  The punch-line is of piercing sorrow.  It arrives at the end of our journey, and it interestingly reveals "true horror" that lies at the core of "Burlesque."  Horror does not simply exist in the pages of literature, or the frames of a motion picture.  It exists in our minds.

 


CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
Burlesque Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Burlesque Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Burlesque Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Burlesque Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Burlesque Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Burlesque Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Burlesque Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Burlesque Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Burlesque Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Burlesque Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Burlesque Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Burlesque Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Burlesque Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

 RATING:
 MOVIE: 1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema0 Skull - Severed Cinema

 

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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

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