|Point of View or "PoV" is a truly
innovative art house movie from Canada that makes intriguing use of the
interactive capabilities of the DVD medium. It easily succeeds in
providing an absorbing entertainment experience for thoughtful viewers
that transcends its relatively low budget.
All aspects of the storyline revolve around
PoV's central character, Jane Bole, a beautiful introverted and seductive
artist/cleaning lady, who gradually recovers her self-confidence in romantic
matters as she strives to come to terms with a dark incident in her past
- a traumatic event which she justifiably fears may soon be repeated.
Jane's bizarre requited romance with across the street neighbour, musician/paperboy
Frank, provides plenty of opportunities for fantasizing, mild eroticism,
and the building up of a strong aura of tantalizing mystery and considerable
sexual tension as Frank warily but persistently tries to unveil the reasons
behind her mysteriousness.
During the course of the movie, a surprisingly
wide variety of adult themes are at least touched upon. Particularly
prominent is the theme of big city loneliness and alienation that can lead
to odd and obsessive behaviour. Others include issues of female beauty
and attractiveness and the problems they can cause. Most inspiring
is the theme of facing up to one's past and coming to terms with one's
fears so that retreat from the world is no longer a viable or desirable
option. Themes are all explored by excellent acting and skilful,
sensitive directing, thereby negating the need for any nudity or excessive
Viewers are pulled into all these developments
by becoming active participants in deciding upon some directions the storyline
will take and by other interesting methods that all but preclude traditional
passive attention. For example, at the end of each of PoV's first
eleven chapters, viewers are asked several multiple choice questions based
upon their personal opinions on the characters and themes portrayed in
the scenes they have just watched. Most questions are quite relevant,
but those with less relevance are still valuable to get the viewer to think
deeper about the themes in the story and thus get them more emotionally
involved in the developments. Depending upon one's responses, some
future scenes are omitted, modified or added. Furthermore, the end of most
chapters also includes bonus material which provides further depth to the
storyline in the form of static pictures of the characters' personal papers
and other belongings, and brief visual segments, "Encounters", where select
characters speak their innermost thoughts directly to the camera.
Different viewings of PoV can result in slightly different plotlines.
Complete viewings can take anywhere from two to four hours each and one's
"games" may be saved/reloaded using a special code shown on screen.
Director/writer David Wheeler has considerably
surpassed his earlier work, Tender
Loving Care, here in many respects. He filmed PoV in digital
video using minimal artificial lighting, thereby providing a clear, realistic
look for the entire production, a large percentage of which was successfully
filmed at night. Significant artistic use is made of black and white
video, mainly to indicate flashbacks or at least scenes where Jane is somehow
reminded of her dark past. Where appropriate, stills and slow motion
are used in certain scenes. Wheeler set and filmed PoV in beautiful
Vancouver, British Columbia, and it shows - wide angled shots of downtown
and other areas are presented and actual locations rather than film sets
were used wherever possible.
Prominently complementing many movie sequences
are the highly memorable and appropriate musical compositions of local
Vancouver electronica/dance musicians Payton Rule and jefreejon who actually
appear as characters in one nightclub scene. Some scenes contain
little or no dialogue, so their music and song combined with the superb
acting and directing can lead one to see such scenes as well-designed music
videos as well as vital plot enhancements. These types of scenes
tend to be concentrated in the first half of the movie, the latter half
containing many dialogue heavy scenes that last for several minutes with
little or no music.
Topping off this magnificent DVD are a
couple of bonus extras: a trailer and a "making of" special. The
trailer uses mainly a remix of the song/music from chapter one of the movie
and provides a useful overview of what to expect without spoiling too much.
Conversely, the "making of", while extremely interesting, has been oddly
placed, allowing those who have not completed the movie in full at least
once to view it. Those who want to avoid several spoilers should
avoid watching it for as long as possible. The "making of" provides
a personal, often quaint and amusing overview of some of the reality behind
PoV. Both the cast and crew get screen time and the director provides
the overall focus for this special.
Failings in PoV are not easy to find.
If one had to be picky, one could say that: some movie scenes contain unexplained
lines across the screen; there are some relatively rare misspellings and
grammatical errors in the text; the storyline is not as customizable as
it might be and contains some minor inconsistencies; and that the "making
of" special is inappropriately placed on the disc, but these errors are
so trivial compared to PoV's positive points as to be barely worth a mention.
Overall, Point of View is an outstanding,
innovative contribution to the DVD medium that this reviewer is honoured
to have in his DVD collection and fully recommends to any mature person
who likes to think and interact with intelligent movies.
My Rating? 9.5 out of 10!