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Bizarre Seraphim Falls

I'm not sure what to make of Seraphim Falls which had its world premiere at the Elgin Theatre last night as part of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Coming into the screening there had been almost no publicity. None of the local media (as far as I saw), had reviewed or even mentioned the film. Strange given it stars Pierce Brosnan and Liam Neeson who along with first time director David Von Ancken showed up to introduce it. Could this be because Icon Productions (read: Mel Gibson) is the financial backer. Is there a Mel boycott in effect?

Or perhaps the real explanation is that Seraphim Falls was a late addition to the TIFF lineup and few media got a chance to preview it. Whatever the reason, once the opening credits rolled I only became more perplexed.

The entire film is essentially Liam Neeson (and an assortment of cohorts) chasing Pierce Brosnan through snowy mountains and barren desert. Why the chase is happening isn't revealed until a hour and a half into the film.

Throughout the journey there are some particulary bizarre occurences:

1. Brosnan's character doesn't talk until 20 minutes in even though he's on camera almost the whole time. His entire dialogue during this period is made up of a series of grunts, gasps and screams.

2. This is clearly a role unlike many Brosnan has played before. There's one memorable scene involving an ambush, a knife and a dead horse.

3. Angelica Huston's appearance toward the end of the film brought chuckles from the audience. The film takes such a sidestep I can only wonder if the screenwriter started ingesting mushrooms before his job was done.

Overall, it's tough to say whether I'd recommend the film. I saw it with two friends. One walked out halfway through and the other kept threatening to do the same. But I wouldn't leave. I was hooked enough that I had to find out how it was going to end.


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