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Leaving Metropolis (2002)

by on 2012/12/12

Leaving Metropolis (2002)

“I think he’s in the process of learning he can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound.”

* *

If I said Leaving Metropolis reminded me of A History of Violence crossbred with Teorema, you could be forgiven for thinking it was a must-see. There might be some potential here, but not much more than that.

Written and directed by Brad Fraser, and based on his play Poor Super Man, the story picks up in Winnipeg, where painter David (Troy Ruptash) is suffering a creative block. He decides being a waiter will help him find new inspiration.

He takes a job at the Main Street Diner, working for its husband-and-wife co-owners, Matt (Vince Corazza) and Violet (Cherilee Taylor). While Matt indulges Violet’s whims, she seems not to do likewise, and he gradually becomes better friends, and then more, with David. Will the new relationship threaten the old?

If you don’t have an answer, this movie will do its best to force one on you. In short, it constantly feels like it’s trying too hard. In matters of metaphor, performance, or production, it’s all far too belaboured. It desperately plays at being edgy, but is usually just tiring.

Where to begin? The Metropolis reference, the paintings of a model wearing a cape, the Marvel vs DC debate . . . the incessant discussions of Superman plots: getting married, sharing his secret identity, dying, and coming back to life. Rarely has a device been as wrung out as this one.

Look, I’m a geek, and enjoy Superman, but this is right off the scale.

The same may be said for the “edge” of less geeky preoccupations. Despite its nudity, there’s an odd absence of passion. However gimmicky, the phrase “tits without titillation” is not inappropriate here. Sex talk, swearing, and smoking up, they’re all treated with an awkward laissez-faire. The players’ attempts to act cool and casual seem clumsy and transparent.

Most times, their resting state was standoffish, blithe, blase, and flippant. On occasion, they’d flip to a melodramatic angst I simply didn’t believe. Did the fault lay in lines or delivery? I really didn’t care to distinguish.

Perhaps the actors sensed something awry. Whether they provide silent scenarios for the many montages, bathed in duotone lighting, or converse in focus-pulled shots, they’re frequently obscured by errant shadows, blurriness, and jumpy cuts.

The editing issues go even farther than isolated incidents. As a whole, the movie suffers from a notable lack of pacing, jumping from scene to scene without logic or timing cues. The approach attempted here proves speed alone does not equal sweep. Instead, everything crashes together chock-a-block, lacking flow.

Ironically, I found myself bored, as if it were painfully slow. I clicked my pen throughout, frequently checked the time remaining, and got up for snacks and household chores midway.

I’m not sure what I expected from Leaving Metropolis. I don’t suppose, starting out, I had any expectations, and still I’m disappointed. It wasn’t nearly dramatic enough, definitely wasn’t funny enough, and provided too little insight to feel I hadn’t wasted my time.

Something something kryptonite. Whatever.

* *

Rated 18A

89 minutes

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