by Jason Coffman
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Breaking Glass Pictures has been releasing quite a varied slate of films this year, from straightforward low-budget slashers (like Exit 33) to surreal dark comedy (Asylum Seekers) and even interesting genre imports (Strigoi, The Hide). Even after all that, a film as perplexing as iCrime is a surprise, since it seems to exist entirely outside the genres Breaking Glass has come to be known for. In fact, it’s really tough to brand iCrime with any genre tag, but not in a good way.
Carrie (Sara Fletcher) moves from Wisconsin to Los Angeles to live with her cousin Stefy (Kelly Noonan), a low-level celebrity of some sort. Carrie wants to break into acting, but in the meantime she makes money as a photographer’s assistant and sells information to a sub-TMZ gossip site called The Echo Report run by the mysterious Evelyn Echo (Katherine Randolph). Echo seems to have some sort of dirt on Carrie that she uses to keep Carrie in her employ, but after a photo shoot with an obnoxious “lonelygirl15” knockoff named Jordan Rivers (Leah McKendrick), Carrie volunteers to work for Echo in unmasking Jordan as a fake.
Meanwhile, Stefy’s sleazy ex-boyfriend Parker (Griff Furst) has tracked own Carrie to get her to pay him back for his stash of sex tapes she destroyed. And while Carrie’s investigation into Jordan Rivers makes headway once she has the assistance of fellow snark-blogger Raychel93 (Christie Burson) and potential love interest/grocery store employee Zeffer (Travis Brorsen), things take a turn for the worse when hooded figures kidnap Jordan and threaten to kill her live on the internet if their demands are not met. Is the kidnapping another twist in the “Jordan Rivers” story, or is the girl in real danger? It’s up to Carrie to get to the bottom of the case, in which nothing is at it seems.
Confused? You should be. iCrime piles on characters, twists, fakeouts and betrayals so fast that it’s extremely difficult to keep track of everything that’s going on. Even worse, you probably won’t want to. Imagine if Veronica Mars was a really hateful, unpleasant character who looks down on everyone and makes no secret of her contempt, and you have a ballpark idea of what it’s like following Carrie around in her adventures. As the story drags on, she becomes more and more abrasive and makes increasingly bad decisions and seems to miss incredibly obvious facts, so it’s tough to care what happens to her.
Debut feature writer/director Bears Fonté loads iCrime with various stylistic tricks including split screens and on-screen text showing what characters are saying in text conversations, but most of the split screen effects are unnecessary (maybe they’re supposed to be like browser tabs?) and the montages of “internet video” responses to Carrie and Jordan’s videos are just embarrassing. The tone of the film is all over the place, and with a running time of over 100 minutes it definitely has a few characters and subplots too many. Whether Fonté meant for the film to be a satire on internet and celebrity culture or a straightforward thriller is tough to call, and the final product is an exercise in frustration.
Breaking Glass Pictures and Vicious Circle Films release iCrime on DVD on 27 September 2011.
Jason Coffman is a film writer living in Chicago. He writes reviews for Film Monthly and “The Crown International Files” for Criticplanet.org as well as contributing to Fine Print Magazine (www.fineprintmag.net).
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