I’m reporting on some not-quite-so-ephemeral entertainment this week, with the web tv series Lizard at Home the other day and now a cinematic-release feature movie.
I’m not sure why I hadn’t heard of Rock Paper Dice Enter before today – probably I wasn’t paying attention. A friend mentioned that he’d been to the Canadian premiere last night because he’d participated in the crowdfunding initiative, and that it had lots of local content. It sounded interesting so I went today.
The story was a bit confusing. Some of it ends up explained satisfyingly at the end, but I felt like maybe there was more I was supposed to figure out and didn’t. Not just plot threads but some of the philosophical theme points. (People complain about everything being obvious and overdone in typical Hollywood movies, but I was left wishing this one was a little bit more obvious.) Some criminals (or are they?) are threatening (or negotiating with?) a crisis-management team of city officials. The criminals don’t all have the same motives and information. One of the strengths of the script, direction, and acting is that the crowd of eleven city officials was quickly shown to have several credibly distinct characters, including many who were female and/or non-white.
The local content included lots of Edmonton skylines and streetscapes and LRT station chase scenes, as well as a few other locales that I thought I should be able to place and wasn’t, quite. I enjoyed recognising some of the views, especially since they were filmed in a way that didn’t draw attention to the details, with Blade-Runner-ish lighting – not like the hyper-detailed views of Toronto streetcars on TV shows like Being Erica and Flashpoint.
The filmmakers are Kash Gauni, who wrote the original story and who plays Roman in the film, and director Shreela Chakrabartty. Other actors include Richard Lee (U of A acting graduate who has a strong presence in the Alberta dance community, and whom I think I first saw on stage singing in Joel Crichton’s song cycle Twenty-Five at Fringe 2011), Alyson Dicey and Chris W Cook (both frequent performers in local professional theatre), Dave Wolkowski who I saw recently on stage at the Walterdale Theatre in Starless, and a Ben Sures (who may or may not be Ben Sures the folk musician). I did not recognise any of the other actors’ names. I thought Richard Lee’s portrayal was one of the more interesting, along with Ojas Joshi’s computer analyst Kamran. Georgette Starko’s public official Kim Puzzo had a distractingly flat affect and monotone voice, without enough on-screen character development to explain that.
Rock Paper Dice Enter is playing at the Landmark Cinemas 10 Clareview Edmonton until Thursday June 12th. Their address is not on their website and Google maps is no help until you figure out that the cinema was an Empire property until recently. It’s also playing on one screen in Calgary and one in Toronto, and it opened across India in February.
As a casual filmgoer rather than a skilled observer, I thought the production values were fine, and I liked the music. The pace was fast enough for the genre. The movie was quite short (about 80 minutes). I wondered if a slightly longer version would have given me more satisfying explanations and explored the characters a bit more.