Friday, July 30, 2010

So I Reviewed an Axe Murderer

It's been months since I wrote a full-length review of a first-run film, and I was worried about getting kicked off the blogosphere. So, eenie-meenie, meinie-mo, the most recent release I screened as this impulse hit was Cropsey, a documentary that screened as part of last fall's Chicago International Film Festival and begins its Windy City theatrical run on Monday at the Music Box.

I wound up having a lot of objections to the way Cropsey handles a fascinating set of delicate and disturbing questions, some of which revolve around the possibility that a devil-worshiping, hook-handed axe-murderer still haunts the grounds of a notorious, now-defunct asylum in New York City's outermost least beloved borough: Shutter Island on Staten Island. Notwithstanding my caveats, I'd still urge you to go see Cropsey. I'm basically a fan of seeing almost anything at the Music Box, since it remains such a stalwart exhibition venue for international, underfunded, repertory, and nonfiction programming in the city and therefore deserves our fealty. But Cropsey is also a film worth arguing about, and not just because you can't tell who's head you're inside now, or whether or not that top is about to fall. I wish this project had been executed a bit differently, but I vote Yes to almost any movie that so easily guarantees a full dinner hour or two of follow-up conversation. My review is here.

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