Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Nicolas Roeg | 2007 | 120 min | UK/Ireland/Canada

Puffball is the latest film from Nicolas Roeg, the director of Walkabout, Performance, and Don't Look Now. It's about a young architect who becomes pregnant while working on a strange cottage project in a remote town full of strangers who show more interest in her baby than is wanted from strangers. Unfortunately, the movie's not as good as the talent and premise would have you believe.

Where to start? What's the biggest problem with Puffball?

Expectations? Nicolas Roeg's made BRILLIANT films in the past, and this isn't one.

That it's shot on video? Roeg and his DP have created some interesting visuals, but they've also used a fair bit of slow motion and zooming (two things which don't work on video in the same way they do on film).

Bad acting? Yes and no. Miranda Richardson and the films lead, Kelly Reilly (originally to have been Samantha Morton) give good performances, but the rest of the cast is pretty bland.

Music? OH HELL YES THIS IS A BIG PROBLEM!!!! It should be illegal to put this much terrible celtic music in a film.

Roeg's crush on Womb-cam? When things start to get a little dry, interior shots of female reproductive organs are meant to keep the audience intrested. Nope.

Its reliance on cheap scare tactics? An old lady constantly staring into the lens, and loud noises? That's it? Are you sure you don't want to try something more original?

Is it a bad script? I think that might be it. It's not a 51% shareholder of the film's problems considering how many there are, but this is a two hour long film, and you want it to wrap things up as early as half way through. Not a line of memorable dialogue to be found, paper-thin characters, and ridiculously laughable devices such as a character putting together a puzzle, which is meant to represent the film's plot.

Puffball is a really frustrating two hours which you sit through in hopes of a payoff that will make up for all of its flaws, but that payoff never comes. Would it be inappropriate to call it a cinematic miscarriage?

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