Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Troop 1500

Yep, two in one day.
I'm an overachiever.

I really liked today's screening.  

First off, the story was fascinating and deeply moving.  I really liked that each of the families got some attention and that the focus was not on just one or two of the moms.  We got to know each character, even a little bit, and understand the events from their perspective.  The warden, for example, was interesting to listen to.  Even though she disapproved of the Girl Scouts visiting, she still allowed it.  Moreover, she permitted all of that filming to occur.  This gives her character some depth relative to her brief screen time.

I really liked the way the passage of time was conveyed via slow motion shots of the various moms with subtitles listing how long they have left.  I found myself counting down with the characters.

Another thing that really worked for me was the quality of the B Roll.  Specifically, I loved the shot of the bird dancing about inside the razor wire atop the prison fence.  What a marvelous visual metaphor for how stir crazy the women inside must feel.

The personal interviews between the little girls and their mothers were a wonderful touch.  Cutting from a long shot of both participants back into the little girl's cameras helped me step into each of those relationships.  The one mother of the 2nd grader was difficult to watch, as she kept snapping at her daughter.  Scenes like that remind you that these women are not all innocent and are in prison for a reason.  This balances the narrative out and prevents the women's circumstances from seeming unnecessary or unreasonable.

I would be curious as to what more is included in the theatrical version, as well as where the characters are now.

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