The Strange Ones (2011)

The strange ones 2011The Strange Ones,  also known as Deux inconnus, is a 2011 short film directed by Christopher Radcliff and Lauren Wolkstein. True to its title – the film is quite strange. It starts like a road movie and as the story develops transforms into suspense. Or, better said, it might transform into suspense if you let the stereo-typical soundtrack lead you in that direction.  There are but three characters in the film – a man and a boy who travel to an unknown destination and a young woman who they encounter in a motel swimming pool.

There is not much more than that, though there are some subtle hints that there might be more than meets the eye.  I expected more development of the storyline – a bit of controversy or a surprising ending at least – of the kind that often transforms what would be an ordinary short film into a masterpiece. Yet, none of my expectations were met. Instead, a weak opening began thirteen minutes of  weak character development,  stilted acting  and boredom.

I find it hard to believe that this movie won several awards in festivals for independent cinema and am curious to know what the juries found in such merit in it. I do not usually write negative reviews but, in this case,  you wouldn’t be missing much if you skip The Strange Ones altogether.

If you have seen the film – and have a different take on it , don’t hesitate to let me know.

1 COMMENT

  1. Georgi !

    I agree with your review of “The Strange Ones” only in part. I have no where near the experience that you do and so eloquently
    provide for your readers including myself as one .
    My take on this film : Yes , there was a definite lack of character development , which immediately gives rise to the question ” Why all the awards?”… I enjoyed it very much , however I have seen a few more deserving films that did not get this kind of response.
    I did enjoy ” The Strange Ones” much more than you seem to have. After the third viewing…. this is how I surmised the story.
    1. The man ( David Call ) and his young friend (Tobias Campbell ) are on the run (as opposed to a ‘road trip’)with each other. Their car breaks down , but has to keep going…where does not matter.
    2. They stop at a roadside motel to rest ,cool off and reconcile with one another while they are there. The girl from the motel (remarkably played by Merritt Wever ) meets them…curious, suspect and anxious.
    3. The lies start with ‘David Call’s character ‘were going to see our sick mother’…yeah, right.
    The second string of lies come from the boy (Tobias Campbell) deliberately trying to scare the girl so that she will leave him/them alone.
    4. The girl, maybe frightened bit but trying to make sense of what the man told her first, then the horrid things told to her by the boy. Watching them from afar she see’s only as a spectator… and as she watches ….she see’s the man nurturing and kiss the boy . Then she see’s the blood on the boys face…
    which brought all of the story together for me.
    Why, (I truly hope I am not overstating the obvious !) because we see the bloodied face of the boy as she did, wondering “Is what the boy said true ?”
    5 . Of course it wasn’t , we saw and heard why the boy got slapped . The girl does not know this and is horrified what kind of person/people she has offered a ride …..

    That’s scary….

    However , that is only ‘my take’ on this film.

    Thank you

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