10 Jul 2017

Color TV, No Vacancy (Dan Brown, 2013)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼ 
 
 
The follow-up to Dan Brown's blackly humorous crime thriller Your Lucky Day (2010) is a lavish, sinister phantasmagoria which lets us peek into the four rooms of a seedy motel (that's probably situated somewhere on the verge of subconscious mind). A heavy-smoking mermaid seduces a young biker; a prostitute and her pimp lover plot against their regular mob boss client; an Elvis lookalike comes to a supernatural rescue and a prom king and queen prepare to say goodbye to their virginity.

Adoration is degenerated into addiction, love is transformed into lust and devotion is betrayed by power hunger, as the characters fall down the (Playboy) rabbit hole or bleed all the colors of the rainbow. Brown subverts (the morals of) myths and fairy tales, cynically 'vulgarizing' them so they can fit the age of pop-culture tyranny. In doing so, he allows the hyper-stylized images and the accompanying brooding score to do all the talking - smooth and mesmerizing.

Even though his background as a commercial and music video director makes itself apparent throughout the film, one cannot help but admire the artistry on display, from the razor-sharp editing to the wonderful cinematography and neat VFX including a flaming deer and a neon-lit spider who operate as arcane symbols. Also commendable is the soft crescendo that comes with the dreamlike cover of Alphaville's Forever Young performed by Amanda Burleson.
 
To paraphrase Nathaniel Ainley of Creators, Color TV, No Vacancy is like a Disney film perverted by Lynch and Refn at their most experimental. And it is available on its creator's official vimeo channel.


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