Run time: 82 min
Genres: Action | Drama
Director: Dan Chisu
Writers: Dan Chisu
Stars: Crina Semciuc, Diana Gursca, Oreste Alexandru Scarlat Teodorescu
In a world where any teenager can film with his own mobile phone and post all kinds of things on the Internet, Laura, an 18-year-old girl, spends a night in a club with her friend Mira. She gets drunk and smokes her first joint. In the morning she does not remember anything and discovers that her friend Mira has died. She wants to find out the truth and so she finds all of Mira’s posts on YouTube. The adventure of her life starts here. She wants to avenge Mira’s death no matter what. Her story of revenge finally returns to the Internet, the place where it all began. Written by DaKINO
Release Date: 14 May 2010 (Romania)
Budget: €120,000 (estimated)
Well, the title of the film is catchy, can't argue with that. It's part of what made me watch it in the first place. The problem is that you start watching the movie and pretty soon you find yourself thinking "I'm too old for this sh..". And this is coming from someone in his 20s. Anyhow, the issue with this movie is that it's not really leveled in terms of writing and performance. It has some really good ideas, then some really poor ones, some parts are really well played, some aren't. The story hits you as realistic a couple of times, but then it goes back to being really fake ***SPOILER*** ordering a gun by phone, and actually using the word "Gun"…come on ***END OF SPOILER*** It's the same thing with the actors. Crina Semciuc, Oreste, Dragos Bucur, Costel and the other guys from Cafe Deko, they all do a great job and seem very natural. On the other hand, actors like Lia Bugnar or Martin Stanciu just ruin the whole experience, you end up asking yourself "What the hell am I watching?" The story itself is just too superficial and like other reviewers mentioned, the director tries to set a pattern for a youth that doesn't have anything to do with normal Romanian teens. It also mixes a lot of pop culture, almost looking like the movie is some sort of advertising for ***SPOILER*** Cafe Deko, Blaxy Girls, etc. I would have also preferred if instead of claiming Youtube is the place where you find everything, they would have went with "the internet", since Youtube pretty much bans a lot of stuff, including amateur porn which is mentioned in the film ***END OF SPOILER*** What I really appreciate in the movie is the way it's filmed. The camera surprises you at times and really grabs you. Also, the sound is excellent. I almost found myself looking for a phone or wondering if someone knocked on the door. Overall, not a bad movie. But I'm sure that with a bit more work, it could have been a lot better. Still, if you want to watch a Romanian movie, this one is worthy.
The movie is intended, as the director declared, not as a bedtime story for kids, but as a waking up story for parents. That doesn't work. One thing, because the movie is mainly addressed to the 16-24 demographic range. Another thing, because it is only intended, the way it's filmed, as a child's play, as a commercial movie, which it is. Therefore, it's less likely the parents will resonate with the film's message. Third, because it is not the film of a generation, as does the groundbreaking Romanian research "Leo Youth II" (2008) shows. The best, Mira and Laura can be considered as representatives for suburban rebels category. This is by no means a movie which defines a generation and I think Dan Chisu should take a good look in the dictionary or on some studies before opening his mouth on making cataloging judgments on Romanian society (this is not the only thing on which he opens up his mouth before thinking of the choice of words).
The worst and the most offending claim which really proved to me Dan Chisu not only doesn't have the minimal good sense of doing some research, but actually doesn't know on which planet he lives on, is the claim made in this interview . I would invite Dan Chisu on some of the Bucharest great monasteries (Like Antim or Radu Voda ), right in the middle of the city, during fasting periods, especially closer to Easter or to Christmas, to see how many people come to confession and how busy the priests' schedule is during these times. Just because he is not going to church anymore, it doesn't mean the Church doesn't exist anymore, therefore must be replaced with Youtube. There is one thing that Dan Chisu is an atheist, it's totally another one when he doesn't use his brain to think. The affirmation is preposterous, as a PR advice for The Romanian Orthodox Church, he should get anathematized.
"Website story" is supposed to be a hint to the classical music-hall "West Side Story". But it's not. The nearest hint to a "Romeo + Juliet" story you can find in the film is that Laura gets slapped by her father in the backstage for rehearsing "Romeo and Juliet". The music, provided pro-bono by Marius Moga and Dalia Pusca is rather adding a shallow component to what else is a dramatic story, therefore minimizing the impact of the message.
Even though commercial and schematic, the movie does build a case for itself. Witheout very well knowing what he's doing, Dan Chisu makes a bet which he wins. In the end, he does deliver, besides a flashy story about disturbed children, a film about children psychologically abandoned by their parents. I think even if you won't like the actors' play or the flashy style or the other things I have mentioned until now, I consider it is a film worth to be seen, and talked about, even if only the end question of the movie, launched rather as a challenge to think about: did the main character do a good deed or a wrong deed?
This is where the movie ends. I would rather say, this is where the movie should have begun. But for what it is intended, the film surprises. Even though Dan Chisu seems not to notice it, this story is not an internet-driven film. It isn't even a film about technology, as it may make you think. It is a good psychological look on the relationships between rich parents and neglected kids, about justice and the desire for connection and communication.There is a really dramatic side to this situation, which the movie actually takes in very well: short, incentive, cut-to-the-chase. We have a real moral dilemma. In Romania, the only justice Laura's character can hope for is, as the boyfriend's character suggests, is that from Heaven, and not any legal justice. So, when there is actually no justice to be served by an actual institution, how wrongfully can it be to make justice for oneself?
The artistic value
This is, in my opinion, an obvious case of a creator having a good product, but doesn't know which are the product's true values. Here lies the lack of communication between screen writing and marketing, and not only, but more. The Romanian movies, said Marcel Iures in an interview to ProCinema in 1997, are used to showing a lot of unmeaningful events which waste the viewer's time and don't tell anything. The only Romanian film director which actually uses that to his advantage as a style, in my opinion, is Corneliu Porumboiu. Judging it next to what cinema is supposed to be like, "Website story" is a poor film.
The good actors in the film don't have a lot to say because of the poor script and the consistent part of Laura, the main character, is too heavy to be played by Crina Semciuc, the UNITER awarded actress known for the film viewers only from the "One step forward" series (some sort of Romanian Milla Jovovich). The actress plays the character too hysterically and without nuances. I don't know if that is because Dan Chisu is a terrible film director or if she lakes preparation or motivation to act. I guess time will tell.
In the end, the movie tells a story of a crime that goes not only unpunished, but also promoted. What is the kind of message the adolescents will really get? Will Dan Chisu's film add a brick to moral construction or de-construction of young people's conscience?
I found it difficult to get through this film ( and in fact, tapped out at the 45 minute mark ) because the main character was such an unbelievable shrew that I couldn't stomach it.
The protagonist/shrew in this story is Laura, a girl who comes from a fairly wealthy family who run a production company at a local theater…. and that's where the main problem comes in:
SPOILER FOLLOWS —————
Five minutes in, we already discover that she is the type of girl who hangs out overnight with her friends and rather than let her parents know that she is OK and not dead, instead just shows up the next day expecting them to be okay with it.
It's after this latest incident that in the midst of yelling at her mother, she finds out that her mother isn't her biological mother. Rather than find out the circumstances behind it, she just flips and decides to get drunk and put herself in risky situation after risky situation.
Instead of doing this alone, she proceeds to drag her friend with her and fairly early in the story we find that her actions have dire consequences for her closest friend. The rest of the story is her trying to get vengeance for her friend.
And this is where the writers lost me. Not only is the main character unlikeable and childish, but her friend's death is a direct consequence of HER actions. In the half of the film I was able to get through, she didn't once take responsibility for guilting and dragging her friend into peril.
I honestly found myself wishing she had died instead. This story would have been UNBELIEVABLY better had that been the case. In it's current state, this story is irrevocably broken.