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SUSPENDED
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Reviewed by: Pat Torfe

Directed by: Wilfried Meance

Starring:
Guillaume Bienvenu
Cindy Cayr
Henri-Pierre Plais

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about

Three childhood chums head off to a chalet to spend New Year's together. However, they decide that hanging off of a cliffside after going off the mountain road is a much better way to have fun. Save them, Gabe Walker!

Is it good movie?

After sitting through SILENCE, ÇA TUE! and being bored out of my skull, I had my Pepto in hand prior to sitting down and watching Wilfried Meance's SUSPENDED. Fortunately I didn't need it, because SUSPENDED was the emotion-charged ride I needed to keep my sanity. Featuring a young and believable cast that gelled together nicely, SUSPENDED made for some fun viewing that I honestly couldn't get from SILENCE, ÇA TUE!.

First and foremost, the characters are made to feel real. The banter between Eric and Marie as they prepare to set off for the chalet, to Marie, Eric and Chris chatting it up like real friends really connected with me. In fact, Meance and writer Romain Combes acknowledged the fact that they sought to create a film that paid attention to the characters and their feelings, especially when it came to shooting in an enclosed space like a car. Awesome stuff, guys!

Another aspect of the film that made it seem real and genuine was the fact that these characters are played by kids. It probably wouldn't have been as effective had Meance used older actors to portray these characters, since there's something about these young actors that made the film more realistic. Something genuine that you don't really get in some indie productions, regardless of whether the actors are young or old. It really shows that Meance and company did their best to get folks who worked effectively together.

Unfortunately, the film suffers the most in its running time. Clocking in at just under 80 minutes might not seem like a big deal, but really, there's only so much you can do in a car with three people before it starts to get on your nerves. While Meance does explore the relationship between the three friends during this time, it becomes tedious without any shifting between locations or exploration of other characters (namely Eric's mother, who is hinted at but jettisoned just as quickly). I realize the emphasis of character development and the exploration of relationships between the three occupants of the car, but really, you can only hold your audience for so long.

Running time aside, SUSPENDED is a solid example for indie filmmakers on how to explore character relationships. You won't find any superficiality here, and even though there are subtitles, they don't take you out of the viewing experience, and you really do feel the emotion that the cast brings to the screen. It'd be interesting to see just what Meance would do with a larger cast, and if he pulls off the characters effectively in his next project, it'll be something.

Video / Audio
Video: Shot in 1.66:1 non-anamorphic widescreen, the transfer is actually in a 4:3 windowboxed format. A weird choice of a transfer, but hey. The film is typical of a low-budget indie flick in that there's a lot of noise in the picture, which is especially noticeable in dark scenes (of which there are many). There are some compression errors creeping up from time to time, and the dark scenes suffer from a lack of detail in places, but overall, it's watchable.

Audio: The only option is a LPCM 2.0 French Stereo track, with burned-in English subtitles. Again, the audio matches the video in terms of the low budget, but is serviceable, with no noticeable hiss or distortion.

The Extras

The screener DVD that I got came with no extras (unless you call contact info an extra).

Last Call

A rather solid film that does a great job of demonstrating character interaction, but is hampered by it's running time. SUSPENDED is a great film to show how you can use characters to carry a film with next to no budget.

ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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