generation Um... (2012) :: Reviews

IvyKeanu at his character-driven best (2014-10-16 02:17:09)

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I've watched this film several times; as Luca says, it is a "multi-layered little gem." A human-sized gem, unadorned by beautiful suits, martial moves, romance or complex plot.
I was indeed uncomfortable during my first viewing of "Um"; during my second viewing, my perspective shifted. It is the subversive presence of the video camera (a fourth character, as Luca observes) which suggests we abandon judgment of the central characters' lives. Morally neutral, the "film-making" elicits revelations and/or fantasies which the two women "stars" would never have shared without the protective screen of the camera lens. The camera also protects Reeves' character from having to engage with the stories related by his friends. In the end, it is he who seems the frailest of all three, able to look on but barely able to accept physical touch, much less affection. Yet, at first glance, he seems to hold most of the power in the form of the (digital!) video camera. Its filter separates and shields him from the messy, passionate narratives of the women's lives.

Keanu's critics will say that in "Um" he has created another male character of flat affect and opaque psyche. A friend and colleague said about Keanu the person that he has a calm exterior and a tumultuous inner life. (I apologize for forgetting the name of the colleague and the title of the interview in which this paraphrased quotation appears; if this were a review in a glossy mag or blog, I would dig for my source. However, this is a humbler project.) Reeves' character in this film reminds me of the above observation about Keanu himself. It is the inner tumult of all the characters in "Generation Um" which draws a viewer back to the film again and again.

LucaMGeneration Um (2013-04-23 01:10:58)

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An almost unexpected surprise in today's world focused only on feel-good movies. A multi-layered little gem. A story about loneliness, pain, despair, and ways to cope with all that. A story about human connection and lack thereof. A story about games of power, seduction and domination. A meditation on how people behave in front and behind a camera. And the camera becomes a fourth character; a silent witness that's central to the plot; a fourth player that changes the rules of the game.It's a story about finding hope - or not.
No, it's not everyone's cup of tea. yes, it will make most viewers uncomfortable. but those who have patience with this movie will be rewarded with a story that sticks with them for days. it's haunting.

As long as such movies can still be made, there's still hope. it means the moviemakingmagic is still alive.

ARYAGen Um (2012-12-28 03:50:09)

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I can believe that this movie wont be released at your local multiplex
but it is an interesting account of 24 hours in the life of sex workers
in NYC. Not an X rated movie by any stretch but more of a personal
exploration of people that wind up in this situation and how their day
goes. There are some edgy scenes of a sexual nature and when that
includes one with Keanu Reeves that is a real attention getter. He is
so achingly damaged and sweet in this role. Through his curiosity, and
his sincerity, and his stolen movie camera, he is able to reveal some
of himself and be a real friend for the 2 young women sex workers,
without judging them. Not a feel good film. More about gritty pathos on
the seamy side of NYC. I dug it.