BLACK ROCK (2012)
Directed and co-written by Katie Aselton
Black Rock is one of those thrillers that you know where it is leading from the start, and unfortunately, it offers little other than what we expect. Katie Aselton directs, co-writes (with Mark Duplass) and stars in this cat-and-mouse indie flick, and whilst the direction is good, the script and performance on-screen are quite weak. It’s hard to perform numerous tasks in filmmaking and only very few people pull manage to pull it off successfully (Mel Gibson with Braveheart, Ben Affleck with The Town spring to mind). Performances by the other cast are also quite poor with the exception of Lake Bell who seems to be believable in the role of Lou. Even Kate Bosworth struggled to convince in her role as Sarah and came off rather annoying to watch rather than the sweet, endearing friend she was meant to be.
The script of Black Rock, for a large part, seems to focus on idle chit chat and let me put it this way, it’s no Tarantino. After some dull conversation on the island and a distasteful opening dialogue of Kate Bosworth’s character Sarah pretending she has cancer, the film regains control on the storyline and begins to pick up some pace. Once we hit the turning point, the action intensifies though not enough tension is created to generate a sense of true panic in the heart of the viewer. A prolonged scene between Abby and Lou getting their wet clothes off and shivering together nude starts off realistic but then quickly becomes questionable if not slightly gratuitous. Even the villains of the piece verge on the stereotypical and come across as dumb rather than clever, with little in the way of added value nor menace.
I did, however, enjoy the pieces of music chosen for the film and thought they fit quite well. Likewise, the cinematography captured the beauty of the location quite well and didn’t resort to the dreaded shakey cam we at HCF fear so much. The vast woodland leading onto the beach is the perfect setting for a tale like this, with the isolated island becoming the second enemy for our protagonists. Trapping them in this nightmare, the island offers no mobile phone service, no rescue point and no other people to alert. All they have is their brains and their brawn to outwit their rivals to stay alive long enough to reach help.
Despite the stunning scenary on show, Black Rock is rather predictable and lacks inspiring plot threads or performances. Though effort has clearly been made, I’m afraid its just not enough to capture this viewer.