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Manuel de Layet [Film Festival 09.08.09] movie trailer news action drama

Year: 2009
Directors: Uwe Boll
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: The Crystal Ferret
Rating: 9 out of 10

This Sunday’s the fest was featuring a full night focus on the so called "Master of Error" the destroyer of worlds, the great demon in the videogame franchises, former boxer turned director, the one, the only, The Uwe Boll.

Personally I discovered Boll’s work with Postal, which I liked, it’s confused, stupid, gross, and completely inane just like the eponymous game so I never really understood all the hate flying around each time Boll’s name was mentioned somewhere. Therefore I went to the screening of Rampage, not expecting much, neither a breakthrough in art nor an utter and complete disaster. Rampage has a simple pitch: our hero, Bill gets fed up with the world, tries to clean it a little by getting a full body Kevlar suit and going down the street shooting people at random.

The first shootings are fulfilling like in any action movie, but there’s no glorification of violence there, no “violence über alles”. In fact, the first burst of laughter normally occurring when the carnage starts are quickly self-consciously repressed when it keeps on going and going, with Bill doing it as a necessary but boring and hollow chore.

It is unmistakable, video games had a strong influence on Boll cinematography, the most intense scenes of action are filmed like an inverse third-person shooter. Instead of seeing the back of the character and the gunfire going all around, we only see Bill’s face and hear the gunshots muffled and distant as he would under his heavy duty protective helmet. For all the action actually taking place off-screen, we have to rely on Bill’s stares and breathing to understand the whole. There’s a really nice projection effect going on there, we really understand the stress and tension going on in Bill’s mind thanks to this.

The greatest scene of the whole is what Uwe himself calls the “Bingo Zombies”; Bill enters a bingo lounge, wrecks havocs a little without the patrons ever even considering looking up from their turf. They are not extras, they weren’t aware of a film being shot. There’s an eerie feeling seeing these two hundred or more people lost in their own worlds without ever connecting to anything outside that room. There’s the same open cynicism in all the other encounters constellating Bill journey through his little town. Clearly we are in a world where people wouldn’t be able to make a decent coffee even if their life is at stake, who can’t even flee for their lives or put up a fight against one single man.

The plot is an interesting starting point. The earth is overcrowded, room must be made to accommodate the yearly births, and our hero places himself as the chlorine to the shallow pool that is Earth. The social commentary of media induced fear, leading people to consume in a never ending quest of greed and inept egotist whims, is as valid as any other. The whole development goes from laughter to a nice nauseating effect about today’s urban societies, but the ending is even better. There’s not so much of a twist as of a retroversive splendor of Meaning. Yes. There’s Meaning with an M.

Let’s get a few lines on Dogma and Gonzo. Yes, you’re reading a review on a Boll movie with “dogma” and “gonzo” concepts attached to it. For the Dogma part, it’s straight for the horse’s mouth. Gonzo is my twisted opinion on the whole. So let’s focus the magnifying glass on the mind of these two tiny ants of conceptuality and see if we can make them burst.

Rampage is not a movie in the conventional meaning, it’s not a documentary either, it’s a clever mix between, made to highlight some higher purpose.” The best fiction is far more true than any kind of journalism”, so it seems only right to apply this maxim from Hunter S.Thompson to this particular piece of movie making. For it is fiction, but it has the true grit of pure gonzo journalism: there’s a bunch of news broadcast casting a net on reality into the whole story build up process of the movie, and then it weaves from it into social commentary through fiction and big explosions. Nothing like a whole block being razed to get your point made. And that’s where the Dogma part kicks in.

Uwe himself invokes Dogma 3 as his method of capturing the action in this movie. Dogma 3 states that: The camera must be a hand-held camera. Any movement or immobility attainable in the hand is permitted. The film must not take place where the camera is standing; filming must take place where the action takes place. And he perfectly followed it. Even perfecting it by keeping the cameraman ignorant of the script to achieve a realistic “What the Hell happened here?!”-effect. Here’s an iron fisted grip on reality, the camera shakes and bobs as we would ourselves in the same situation, searching for the action and trying to understand what was, and what would happen next. Forget the formulaic shakycam of Cloverfield and consorts, this is on a whole other level.

Forget anything you ever knew about Uwe Boll. This is solid cinema and deserves praise. There comes a shocking 9 out of 10. Well earned. Now I’m waiting his next film, same treatment about the Darfour drama.

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Pat (13 years ago) Reply

interesting you like this so much. uwe said he much preferred working on darfur. he made both movies at the same time and invested rather little time in this compared to his darfur movie (which was for example shot on location in africa).
cant wait to see both.


FALLEN101 (13 years ago) Reply

A good Uwe Boll film, sounds sort of like an oxymoron, doesn't it? Well, the review was sound and if this movie is as good as you say it is, I might have to give the guy a second chance.


Chance Minter (13 years ago) Reply

He didn't shoot this and Darfur at the same time. He actually shot this in October-November, then 2 weeks later we started on 'The Storm' from Nov. to Dec., then after the New Years and all, then he went to South Africa, then Croatia and Germany for 'Max Schmeling'


Ben Austwick (13 years ago) Reply

Although I have a strange respect for Uwe Boll's unashamededly exploitation movies (I'm convinced we'll look back at them differently one day, like we do 70s trashy horror), I'm surprised to hear he's made something that is actually good! Seed did have its moments though and I've been wanting to watch Postal, maybe he's becoming someone to watch


Jonas (13 years ago) Reply

Meh.. my intense hatred for this man has forced my to vow to never, ever ever ever see one of his movies again no matter how good reviews they get. I will force my kids to take the same vow.


DOCJ (13 years ago) Reply

Hey, I really enjoyed Rampage too, and I had a good reason for having a bad feeling about it: I actually have seen House Of The Dead! And you should too, it's one of the most inane things you'll ever see.

I'm helping at the Etrange, my nametag holds the same name as this post; I would be glad to have a chat with you there! Hope you'll catch me!


olbert (13 years ago) Reply

I never hated Uwe Boll.
There is a lot of worst directors working that don't get such a bad rap.
But i'm no fan either.
So i saw Rampage without prejudice.
Its just not good.
The directing is bad (boll says he dont want to make the violence cool but several times uses music or cool cuts to show action go figure), the use of shaky cam "to make it real" is just annoying, the constant flashes fowards are just bad and diminish the "power" of the massacre.
The twist was at the same time funny and lame. I would have prefered a real maverick character that really believes in his "demographic control method", we just get another lame Hans Gruber Wannabee.
Not a bad concept but really badly shot and written.

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