Cinema Epoch // 2006 // 80 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 5th, 2008
A road rage romance.
Okay...we've got two characters, "X" (Nikka Kalashnikova) and "Y" (director Michael Andre). The two meet while tooling down the highway. X is on her way to an artistic exhibition when Y pulls up next to her and points a video camera at her. X turns on the sexual charm and drives Y batty. Literally. He starts driving batty (hence the road rage element) and starts stalking her. The two eventually engage in a frenzied, high-speed game of cat-and-mouse that culminates in a violent confrontation. And that's your 80 minutes.
I'm not sure what to do with Jupiter Love. It's definitely an "art house" kind of flick, nonlinear, mostly silent, rife with shakycam footage and quick edits and lots of unintelligible monologues. There are even two scenes of nude folks shooting their groins with a miniDV camcorder. And the last line in the synopsis on the back of the case: "Madness takes its toll, and fire rains from the sky." Yikes.
So Jupiter Romance is confusing and often incoherent, but there are a few interesting themes that Andre is touching on, made clearer thanks to the director's commentary. The overarching point, I gathered, involved the detachment of humanity from women as seen by a man who knows intimacy solely from interaction with the media -- magazines, DVD, etc. It's an intriguing observation. Unfortunately it's so muddled and opaque that the director had to spell it out on his commentary track.
Allow me to just cut right to it -- as compelling as some of the statements Andre may have been saying, the film was simply not entertaining. Sections went on and on and on, essentially defusing the moderate amount of tension that had been created from the "road rage" segments, which themselves were made up of the same scenes repeated and cut together and grew tiresome. When X and Y interact, their dialogue is all over the place, with Y going on and on with insane rants and X laughing and smiling. Again, signifying something insightful about the inter-gender dynamics I'm sure, but not terribly engaging. Both actors are fearless, though. Good for them.
Will you enjoy it? I guess, if you're fan of obtuse Australian cinema, but in my humble opinion if the director's commentary is necessary for understanding what the heck is going on, the film may just be a smidgen too impenetrable.
The DVD offering is slim. The home-grown video (1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen) is passable, grainy in some parts, but overall decent. A 2.0 stereo mix for the audio and the commentary is it for extras.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Cinema Epoch
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 80 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated