Saturday, November 7, 2009

"Mammoth" Does IFC know how to market this film?

Swedish filmmaker Lukas Moodysson is known for vulgar provocations like "A Hole in My Heart" and the spiritually-aware sex-trafficking odyssey "Lilya-4-Ever," so the director's latest, "Mammoth," is something of a departure. Trading in the lion's share of his frequently bunk sensationalism for quiet introspection, Moodysson comes up with one of the most agreeable, and unexpectedly poignant, globetrotting mosaics thus far — and there have been quite a few (anyone remember the dead-on-arrival "Rendition"?).

Though similar in many ways to Alejandro Gonzàlez Iñarritu's "Babel"— even sharing actor Gael Garcia Bernal — the scaled down "Mammoth" is (at least I think) a more satisfying film because it's not trying to eat you alive with its self-importance, and, at least until the the last act, which is a tad overwrought and melodramatic, the focus is placed more on people than big, we-are-the-world statements and tragedies that bring people together.

This domestic trailer for the film just doesn't capture that. One of "Mammoth's" real strengths is its understatement, evidenced the social realism of its performances; the identifiable duress of the film's overworked mom — a spiritual cousin of Catherine Keener's stressed parent in "Where the Wild Things Are" — magnificently played by Michelle Williams; and the earnest but a little naive husband (Bernal), who runs a popular gaming website and who, at the outset of the film, travels to Thailand with his sleazy lawyer to sign a multimillion dollar contract.

This trailer more of less reduce the movie to a series of generic titles ("their family seemed perfect," "perfection is not what it seems") and dramatic moments, of which in reality there are very few. "Mammoth" is made to look like a kinetic piece of filmmaking here, rife with sex and action, but people looking for that from Moodysson's film will likely be as disappointed as the booing audience at the
Berlin Film Festival earlier this year.

"Mammoth" is set for a limited release from IFC, opening
November 20th.

Also, for a better representation of the film, along with a glimpse of its most frustratingly leaden globalism metaphor (a young girl's frequent trips to the planetarium), be sure to check out "Mammoth's" original, international trailer
- Source: The Playlist

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