I watched Todd Solondz’s Storytelling earlier today.
It was shit.
Uncomfortably manipulative, laced with flavour of forced post-modern irony (you know, the kind that went out of fashion in 1995), his characters designed to be either repulsive (frustratingly so) or sympathetic in the face of such revulsion (but too weak to do anything about it). Such binary opposition is all too evident in most of the film’s character interactions (he even namedrops Derrida, just in case we didn’t get it!). Any points he may have been trying to make are left confused by his ambiguity (or just stubborn unwillingless to align himself to any idea); hardly deconstruction, which is supposed to bring us closer to the truth, not leave us stranded in a moral desert.
Why does he get so much praise for his work? What do critics find so special about him? Is he trying to turn a mirror on society? And if so, why contrive it so much as to bludgeon us into submission with the bad things? I can’t say that’s a reflection of my life. Is that a failing on my part, or his?
Whatever the case, something about his work – and this film in particular – tells me Solondz didn’t have a good time in high school.