BEROCCA Image

BEROCCA

By admin | January 23, 2005

If it’s possible for a picture to be beautifully made without achieving any recognizable intentions, that’s the case with Berocca, an odd English short directed by Martin Taylor. While there probably is a story buried somewhere inside this 13-minute road movie, it plays as a series of disconnected episodes, some of which hold more interest than others. The film follows a man stricken with some severe disability, perhaps cerebral palsy, and his angelic son. They drive around England doing errands for the man’s work (which seems to involve selling medical supplies), then end up at the ocean, where it’s possible one or both of them die. On a narrative level, the movie’s a complete disaster. Scenes lack focus and power, the story has no discernible thrust, and the characters are vague constructs defined more by their physical attributes than their behavior. To make matters more difficult, all of the man’s dialogue is filtered to the point of incoherence, as if his vocalization weren’t sufficiently challenged by his disability. Having said all that, Taylor has a fine eye, and the performers all seem engaged, even if their aspirations are obscured by the picture’s lack of clarity. If Taylor ditched his artiest excesses — like, say, the snail closeups (!) that open the picture — it’s easy to picture him applying his obvious talent to something more accessible. Berocca, however, is a puzzle of such little appeal that deciphering its clues seems more like a chore than a challenge.

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