3 April 2016 | paul2001sw-1
Interesting but unnecessarily slow
Teenage boys can be horrible: watching 'Play' brought back shuddering memories from my own childhood. In 'Play', the horror is made more interesting by being set against a background of differential affluence and a racial divide; the fine line between "play" and pure bullying is also nicely explored. But it's a slow film, with no rapid cutting or background music: indeed, it's shot in a strange manner with static cameras often leaving part of the subject (or even parts of the subjects, heads for example) off screen. The result gives you the feeling of an by-stander, overhearing parts of somebody else's story; eventually, the tension builds, but it feels like a deliberately off-putting way to make a movie. At the end, I didn't know quite what to think about it: one can alternatively feel repelled by, and sympathetic to, its protagonists, but the surely intentional absence of a clear moral or emotional message means the film ends nowhere. Perhaps we're meant to leave this movie pondering matters of class and race; I left it just glad I'm not fourteen any more.