Surveillance * * * 1/2
Director: Jennifer Chambers Lynch.
Screenplay: Jennifer Chambers Lynch, Kent Harper.
Starring: Julia Ormond, Bill Pullman, Pell James, Ryan Simpkins, Cheri Oteri, Michael Ironside, French Stewart, Kent Harper, Caroline Aaron, Gill Gayle, Hugh Dillon.
Jennifer Chambers Lynch (daughter of the great trancendental David Lynch) made her directorial debut in 1993 with “Boxing Helena”. That film received some scathing reviews and if my memory serves it was an absolute turkey. However, this second shot at directing is a vast improvement.
Hunting a vicious serial killer, FBI agents Hallaway (Bill Pullman) and Anderson (Julia Ormond) pitch up at a police station to question three survivors and the cops who saved them. But with the stories failing to match up, can anyone be trusted – and is anybody safe?
You can tell that Jennifer Lynch’s auteur filmmaker father has had a heavy influence on his daughter. She employs a similiar eerie atmosphere; similiar characters with odd, unexplained behaviour and similar small, remote american settings like “Twin Peaks”, or “Wild at Heart”. Although she’s still a far cry from the genius or intelligence of her father, she can be proud of what she’s crafted with this one. The performances are spot on from a cast that has obviously put their trust in their director and Lynch’s visual style complements the cast. It’s not without it’s flaws however, and sometimes verges on implausibility but I really liked it. Certainly not for all tastes but it’s very effective and disturbing feeling of dread lingers long after viewing it. The fact that it’s set in a deserted rural American town adds to the lonliness and fear from the characters and the audience.
In only her second film, it looks like Jennifer Lynch still has a bit to learn but with this unusual serial-killer thriller it looks like she may still have something to offer, despite living in her fathers shadow.