Topless Women Talk About their Lives - Rated - TEPID

This film is so different from most other feature films that it is difficult to review. It is amazing that the film was made at all. It was made on a shoestring, at weekends, using a cast of friends of the writer/ director/ producer Harry Sinclair, doing it for love, not money. It had no proper screenplay (I think they worked thing out as they went along). It all came from the a group of people doing a micro-mini-series about a group of friends in Auckland. Each episode was 4 minutes long. One of the actors (Danielle Cormack) got pregnant, and the film is an improvisation on that theme. It is amazing that the film is as good as it is.

Not very good, mind you. It is just amazing that it all holds together (kind of).

There are some good performances (and some bad ones - notably from Harry Sinclair himself as an over-the-top nutcase), and there are some funny scenes and some touching ones, but the 4-minute experience of the director shows. Things are too episodic and some scenes are just there for the jokes. Some of the jokes are wasted, like the opening scenes - potentially hilarious, but just thrown away. Also, the German film-within-the-film was just not clever enough. It could have been very witty indeed. And some of the most interesting characters (such as Mike, Mike's Islander housemates and Ant's mother) are neglected in favour of these self-absorbed and immature young people.

Still, the film is pretty amusing and cute in parts - helped enormously by the charismatic and talented Danielle Cormack. And there's a great soundtrack of New Zealand rock and heavy metal - though it was a tad loud (maybe - you feel so old when you think things like that!).

All in all, even if it is just for his ability to work under enormous restrictions, I think Harry Sinclair could be a good filmmaker - especially if he works on next script for more than just 4 minutes.