Monday, September 13, 2010

Amazon Falls

Amazon Falls (Canada, 2010) directed by Katrin Bowen, 80 minutes at AMC 9

It's a fine line between gritty/real and ugly/depressing. I'm afraid that this film crosses over into the latter category.

Aspiring actress Jenna (April Telek), complete with a brassy blonde weave, french tips, blowsy too tight attire, bad skin and inadequate dental work, is working it for all she's worth in the Valley.

Jenna, trying to move from B (or possibly lower) movies into more sophisticated fare, is sadly too real as one of those wannabes doomed to fail in Hollywood after, literally, decades of striving. At forty, Jenna goes from fruitless auditions with single lines as a "sexy robot" to working in a sleazy cocktail bar where customers get to rub up against the waitresses for extra tips.

Jenna is fixated on a previous role she had had twenty years before - a blonde amazon who kicks ass and pulls her rivals' hair - and she obsessively watches and re-watches the movie as if summoning up her courage to forge on from the fact that she was the "star" of this girl cat-fight film fest.

Jenna auditions for a low budget indie movie that she has been told she is being considered for as the lead by a little cockroach of a director named Derek (Benjamin Ratner). But said director has his eye on her sidekick and protege Li (Anna Mae Routledge) who fares a little better in the film but not because she is more talented or prettier, she is merely younger and more naive.

Unable to withstand a series of failures and losses - a devious, using boyfriend (Zak Santiago), the loss of her agent and a potential part which she initially rejected, being fired from her waitressing job, lying to her parents about her on-going successes - Jenna has her Norma Desmond moment of madness. She clothes herself in her best dress and beseeches the director for an opportunity, any opportunity, only to be unceremoniously shoved off the lot.

She finally accepts the advances of a wealthy, much older admirer from her past with whom she had worked years ago.

The film is utterly depressing and serves as a strong tonic for those with mediocre talent and a fitful eye on Hollywood stardom.

At one point after interaction with some bar patrons Li mutters, "I need a shower." Don't we all just?

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