For The Plasma (2014)
For a week in July For The Plasma had its New York City premiere, right before its release on the internet. One of the directors, Kyle Molzan, who works at The Metrograph theater in NYC, is an acquaintance of mine. He mentioned his film was showing for a week, so I decided to catch it one night.
For The Plasma is a confusing film. Part sci fi, part drama, part comedy(?), you are never too sure what you are watching. Even when you laugh at the funny parts, you are not sure you should be laughing, or that it is an intentional joke. The script comes off as something that was written for a class, or maybe some sort of project, and never meant to be filmed, but someone filmed it anyways.
The first part of the plot revolves around the reason for the two girls being out in the middle of nowhere. You see, one girl was already there, and called an old college friend to join her to give her some help with the job. The job is simple, watching the woods for signs of fires and such, if I remember correctly, BUT (there is always a but), the first girl has figured out how to predict the economy or the stock market or what have you by watching the woods as well. So she hires her friend to help with both jobs.
There is a second whole subplot having to do with a guy the first girl was into or dating or whatever, and the fact the the friend is now dating him and hiding it from the first girl. There are lots of secretive phone calls and such. Plus we meet the guy that tends to the lighthouse, and some Japanese businessmen who want to hire the first girl to do some other research, etc etc.
To be honest, none of the plots really go anywhere. They exist irregardless of the fact that they both make no sense, and are never forwarded to any new place, let alone any conclusion. It really does seem like someone wrote the script as an exercise for a class or something, then filmed it for the fuck of it. Granted, I am sure that's how many a movie is made, but here it feels like something is missing, like the secret to the whole movie. Or maybe there is no secret, that's the secret!
I have no shame admitting when I do not understand a movie, and this one just did not make a lot of sense in the long run. Each scene seems like it might lead somewhere, but it never does. Although this can work under certain circumstances, for me it did not work here. As for the rest of the movie, some of the shots were beautiful and well done, although the changes in camera style can be a bit disarming at times. The soundtrack was interesting at times, though I am not sure that I felt like it was part of the movie at times, or just something playing along with the movie. The performances were OK at times, but nothing to write home about. The script is, well, setting up a movie that never happens, unfortunately. Maybe one day someone can rework the whole thing and make a movie that is much more satisfying.
Overall I cannot totally hate on the movie, it is more a curiosity than something that I would severely dislike, though I can see people being one way or another on this one.
6 out of 10 stars.
Location : Anthology Film Archives, downstairs smaller theater, NYC
Date and time : Tuesday, July 11th, 2016 at 7 PM
Format : 16mm to digital
Audience : 11 people, a few laughs, an old couple who I am sure was related to either one of the film makers or an actor, and a lot of confused stares during the movie