Thursday, October 12, 2006

Random DVD round-up 3 - MIRRORMASK * or *****

I suspect that MIRRORMASK is the kind of film you either like an awful lot or that leaves you bored rigid. People in the former catgeory are likely to be fans of fantasy fiction and the visual arts - most of all fans of Neil Gaiman, upon whose work the film is based. The movie features a plucky fifteen-year old girl called Helena. She works in her parents circus but wants to be "normal". Her mother, played by the ever-brilliant Gina McKee, falls desperately ill, and Helena internalises her guilt into a dream-world where a good witch is ill and can only be saved by a mirrormask. It's a beautifully rendered film - mixing live action and puppetry. The visuals are beautiful and whimsical and it has a surreal, slightly disturbing Alice in Wonderland feel. The movie is populated by the sort of eccentric very British characters you might find in Gormenghast or Alice - odd librarians, dusty Prime Ministers and evil queens. The movie also features a number of cameos from great British character actors and comedians - not least Rob Brydon, Stephen Fry, and, ur, Lenny Henry. I didn't like this film very much at all, but then I am not a fan of fantasy films. The visuals were fantastic but there just wasn't enough plot to keep me hooked. But I can see that for the right viewer, this would be a wonderful movie - hence the alpha/gamma score.

MIRRORMASK was shown at Sundance 2005 and went on release in the UK in March 2006. It is available on Region 1 and 2 DVD.

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