Review of: Principles of Buoyancy 

reviewed by kentmur on 02/08/2009
Credited Review
kentmur
A beautiful story Credited Review
I loved his simple, sweet story of love and freedom. The imagery is wonderful, the idea is primal and full of emotional appeal. The writing is clear and concise. We can all relate to the position Albert is in and his struggle to be with the woman he loves in a free country. The only problem I had with the way the story played out was that Albert would have needed to have some sandbags or something as ballast to hold him to the ground that he could release to suddenly float free at the party. As it is it seemed impossible in my mind for him to get enough balloons inflated to rise so high. A small point...

Now for my big problem, and you're not going to want to hear it, but remember, it's only my opinion. I don't think this is a movie; I think it's a short. A wonderful, Oscar-winning short. First of all, I think all of the dialogue, and I mean every word, is unnecessary. It was too simple, on the nose and unrealistic. But I think your story plays out very, very well as a silent film. Albert's really a mime anyway. So why not go all the way and not have any words at all? Look at your script and I challenge you to find any necessary talking. We, the audience, already know where the story is going about half-way through. The guard conversations are unnecessary, the labor-board clerk's dialogue is unnecessary, it could all be done with gestures, looks and images. But, personally, I would cut most of it out and make it a short.

Marta is a bit of a cardboard cut out. No personality at all -- so why have her speak? The butcher, the optician, the clerks -- all plot devices. Even Albert is two-dimensional. The whole story is about him, but we have no idea why he's such a momma's boy, why he loves Marta so much. It's all very simple and sweet -- perfect for a short -- but not satisfying for me as a feature.

The best way for me to picture this is as a silent short. With less or no mom -- find some other way to keep him east. With less telescope -- he doesn't have to spy on her to miss her. A couple random spottings with the scope, them both pining away, and Katrina growing older gets it across.

I got bogged down with all your scenes of drab eastern dolts/comrades. We've seen them all before in many movies, so I'd play off that stereotype by just having quick, nonverbal scenes to tell the story.

The bottom line? In my mind, for this to be a movie, you need to develop the characters much more, so I care about them. Give them non-vanilla dialogue. Make the struggle real -- the trampolines and rockets are cartoons that make the struggle too comic and not tragic. On the other hand, if you strip away all the fluff, you have an incredibly powerful story you can tell in about ten minutes and have the audience in tears.

Anyway, that's my two-cents.

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