Four Eyed Monsters Review

Being the second in a series of every day posts to mark Être ou Avoir’s first year.

Susan Buice and Arin Crumley have crafted a piece of questions and uncertainty with 2005’s Four Eyed Monsters. Earlier this month the film was uploaded to YouTube in its entirety (view it here), and although it is a few years old, and their concept even older, its popularity has taken off. There are some people who state this film is “one of a kind”, or that it is the most original piece of film making ever. I’ve read other reviews who compare it to the works of a young Woody Allen. At the same time, there are plenty who find it unwatchable, and pointless. I found the film to be mediocre. However, I did sit through the entire 70 minutes or so, surprising myself. Initially I thought I would watch a bit on YouTube and then get bored. Still, one of the reasons I stuck it out was to see what they would do with the concept – and a theme I did not agree with from the outset. Four eyed monsters (monster couples) are a creation of the protagonist, and in my view, merely an outlet for frustrations of an unbalanced life. Unfortunately I did not sympathize or empathize with Arin’s view of the world around him. He possessed a lot of angst with couples, and the manufactured coupledom of our society. I simply regarded this as him setting his own trap and being snared by it.

The redeeming feature of the film was that it tried to explore how we access new relationships in our e-this, and iThat world. The film points to the elephant in the room: that all the exciting new modes of communication we have at our disposal might actually be hampering meaningful and progressive communication between two people trying to build a sustainable human relationship. However, instead of actually tackling the issue and exposing more of the issue’s dimensions, the film seems to suddenly realize that over an hour has passed and maybe things should wrap up in a whirlwind and leave the verdict about what to do with the elephant and the predicament up to the viewer. While, it is a clever and intelligent move to leave decisions up to the audience, a film shouldn’t waste 60 minutes on presenting a conundrum with details and possibilities that could have been presented in five minutes.

I was intrigued to see what these young film-makers would do in terms of editing and style. It is interesting to see glimpses of well constructed film and envision the possibilities of future films that these two could put together. I hope they put another project together, because there is a lot of potential, and it will be good to compare where they go next to this creation. If nothing else this film will give you something to talk about, and maybe that’s the sign of a good film. It’s better that film-makers actually try to engage you in something and not quite succeed than just plug in a formula and steal your brain cells. Four Eyed Monsters at least tries, and there are actually things that can be critiqued – and hey, it’s an entire film on YouTube, that’s pretty cool.

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