Friday 6 July 2012

Turning a Page (2011)

Director: Randal Lee Smith
Stars: Jose Rosete and Chrissy Gerik
This film was an official selection at the Phoenix Film Festival in Phoenix in 2012. Here's an index to my reviews of 2012 films.
The tagline for Turning a Page reads, 'Life is written by the choices we make.' To underline how spot on that is, the script tasks businessman Devin Page with living through the same situation twice as a sort of Twilight Zone morality play. It's a pretty basic situation. He just has to get up early and catch a plane to attend a business meeting, but like many Twilight Zone characters, he fails utterly even at that: he shouts at his wife, ignores his daughter, texts while driving... you name it. If there's a right and a wrong way to handle any situation, he finds the wrong one every time, and he's given a catalogue of them to handle in the first half of this film. We're left wondering how anyone puts up with this idiot. We laugh when he misses his flight and we're sad when the news tells that his plane has crashed, not because people are dead but because he'd missed it and so wasn't among the casualties.

There's good and bad here. The massively experienced Jose Rosete is excellent as Devin Page, believably worthless without being one dimensional slime. We understand that he's this way not because he's inherently bad but because he just isn't paying attention to the progression of his life and so prioritises all the wrong things and lets them run him. On the other hand, everything he's given to deal with is so set up that we're hardly surprised when the twist arrives. Humbled by his near death experience, he finds himself gifted with an opportunity to live through it all a second time, down to the smallest detail. Can he get it right this time? Is it true that whenever a question like that crops up in a review like this that you know the answer even without me telling you? Pretty much. Turning a Page isn't bad, it's just predictable. It is at least well acted and the heartstring pulling isn't badly handled, but you won't need spoilers to tell you the outcome.

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