Sunday, December 09, 2007
Written by Fumo Verde
Ever wonder what happens outside of the walls of your own room? What others do when you or anyone else for that matter isn’t around? Take the view of the surveillance camera, what does it see? Four billion hours of tape are recorded by over thirty million cameras in the United States capturing the average American around two-hundred times a day. From that vantage point, writer/director Adam Rifkin gives us a perspective only seen in the control rooms or on videotape.
The cameras follow the lives of some very different people: a young female student trying to have sex with her married teacher, a lawyer leading two lives, a department store manager who uses his stockroom for more than just stock, two guys living the lives of convenient store clerks, the office nerd and the people pulling the pranks on him, and two psychopaths’ who go on a streak of robbing and killing. What the cameras see in a week’s time in this small town will leave you wondering what really goes on when you aren’t around. It also makes you wonder who the frack is watching you too.
I enjoyed this movie though it disturbed me a little which is a good thing because any movie that moves you emotionally I consider to be a good film. For example, a woman gets held up at gunpoint as she was just getting money out of the ATM. The bandits lock her in a trunk of some stolen car and leave it at the far end of a mall parking lot. As night turns to day and day back to night, you know the woman is dead. Like life itself, happy endings are few and far between. I don’t think it was a scene like these that disturbed me; it’s just the thought of knowing that people like that are out there. As a surfer I know sharks sit 300 yards away from what I consider the line-up, but I don’t talk about them or even think about them when I’m in the water. After viewing this film, every time I see a surveillance camera I think about what I don’t see.
This just reminds me that we live in a harsh world, and Rifkin has done a superb job by merging the lives of his characters as they appear in different locales while the “watching eyes” keep tabs on what they are doing. The stories feel real and are played well by all of the actors. One of my favorite scenes happens in the police department when the young teen who had sex with her teacher gives a gory, sobbing detail of how her teacher rapped her. To her surprise and the surprise of her parents who believe her, the police inform them the school has an extensive surveillance system. Once her parents see what really happened, her crocodile tears turn to true tears of sorrow.
Oh, the camera sees all, twenty-four seven, so just remember, you are being watched. If you don’t think so, each time you go to some store or are at some intersection just move your eyes about and you will see the camera watching you, take your time and just LOOK.