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Monday May 5, 2008


Guatemalan Handshake
It’s pretty funny how American Independent films get to be so weird. This one, by first time filmmaker Todd Rohal, is kind of like a mix between Gummo and Napoleon Dynamite, but without any of the wink wink humour. It also marks the second appearance by Will Oldham, aka Bonnie ‘Price’ Billie, aka Palace Brothers, this year, the other being Old Joy, which, by the way, was not as good as this. Handshake has everything you could want from an indie: weird, small town kooks, semi retards, beautiful cinematography, odd pacing, a cool triangular car and a demolition derby, and it’s narrated by a 10 year old girl only known as Turkeylegs.

This one is only presented by Guillermo Del Toro. And that means he got “behind” it, put his name “on” it, so the studios would be “interested”. Like Quentin did for Wong Kar Wai. But regardless, this is a creeper alright, and the kid with the sack mask is totally “freak-E”. But trust those Europeans to take the story further and make it intelligent, instead of just having the kid flitter and twitch and kill. Nope. Instead you get a smart thriller about a mother who returns to the orphanage of her childhood, whose son taps into the unknown tragic past of the place. There is even a really good ghostbusting scene where a medium makes contact with the ghosts in the orphange and they record it with cameras and reel to reel equipment and it feels totally authentic. And trust us… we know what we are talking about ghostbusting wise.