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June 19, 2012

FMWL Indie Spotlight - Entrance

(2012, Dir. by Dallas Hallam & Patrick Horvath.)

Entrance was on its way to being a really good movie, but then nothing happened.

Normally you get the opposite comment about a movie.  In those cases, a movie is making all the right moves and then something catastrophic takes the film off track and leaves the viewer going "Man, what the heck was that about?"  In the case of Entrance, we get a film that is kind of like that toddler who's no good at playing with Legos.  They build, and they build, and they build, and you're sure they have something up their sleeves that's gonna be cool.  Then they show you the finished product and you're like "Oh! It's a....wall. Neat!"  And then you walk away feeling sorry for that toddler.

Entrance, like that toddler, is very particular and very attentive to its process.  The film follows a young woman in Los Angeles and slowly - and I mean SLOWLY - reveals strange things that are happening around her.  Some are subtle - like, "Hey, where'd those glasses go?" or "Hey, the garage door's open" - while some are blatantly creepy. These blatantly creepy things are known to her at times (like the moment when a car is slowly following her and then backs up in the middle of the street when she backs up), while others are shown only to the viewer.  A moment when we see only darkness is broken by the flash of a camera as the woman and her roommate sleep, planting the film firmly in stalker movie territory.

The woman is played by a young actress named Suziey Block, who is quite natural in the role.  Then again, the role basically requires her to walk around and be a woman in Los Angeles, and I'd imagine she's pretty well trained at that.  Of course, the film does build to something, but it's a far more abrupt something than I expected and there's very little pay off - in either tension or gore - for the 75 minutes of build up that precede it.

Part of me wants to say Entrance is an interesting failure, and I think I get where the directors were going with their attempts to study Ms. Block's character.  Maybe Entrance works as a film that follows the life of a young woman trying to make a living in LA, but at the same time it doesn't do anything to really keep us interested in her life.  By the time she's getting nervous and having one night stands just so she's not alone, we're kind of ambivalent to her plight.  Perhaps Entrance is too subtle in its methods. If it thought it was building tension early on, it was wrong.

In the end, the final reveal happens and the film abruptly ends and I'm left with an "Is that it?" feeling in my stomach.  I like the idea behind the film, but I couldn't help feeling the film was terribly imbalanced.  I can't go in to exactly what I mean without spoiling the film, but there's very little to learn from what we've seen.  Like the build up, Entrance ends on an empty note - and the whole thing leaves me thinking that there were some missed opportunities here. 

Entrance is currently on VOD through IFC Midnight, and should see a wide release soon.  I couldn't find a reason to like it, but you can give it a try if you're feeling lucky.  Check the trailer below.

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