You know when a film stars Parker Posey that it’s gonna be an American indie piece, (okay, so just for a moment forget Josie And The Pussycats), and Personal Velocity certainly fits that description. With lots of hand-held, blurred and out of focus shots the cinematographer certainly seems to have aimed for an in-your-face, ‘real’ type of movie.
In the opening credits the words ‘three portraits’ appear, and for a moment this flummoxed both Mark and I. Mark joked that maybe we’d hired the wrong film, and I thought that maybe it was an actor with a particularly strange name. I finally settled on the idea that it might have been the original working title of the film.
The film certainly is three portraits. Three short films about women in a state of transition. This, however, is about all the three parts have in common. At only one point do the stories overlap (and just for a short moment), and this I felt made it hard to quite decide what these three women had in common. I’m sure this pissed Mark off no-end, and in fact towards the end he was whining because he didn’t ‘see the point’.
All the performances are top-notch, but the camerawork did annoy me after a while. Whilst Peter Greenaway annoys me by never filming close-ups, this film never pulls back, which results in a very claustrophobic and unsettling experience.
There were two main problems with Personal Velocity. The first is the mysterious male voice-over, which sounds distinctly like a film school student. The second is that the film telegraphs all its punches (is that a mixed metaphor?). I could predict almost every event well before it occurred. Considering that each film did have repeated bookend shots maybe this was intentional, but it resulted in a film that didn’t excite and definitely never challenged me.Rating: