Review: ‘The Pied Piper’

A strained adult updating of the vintage folktale, chaotic "The Pied Piper" boasts of having been shot over 24 hours in and around old Prague -- unfortunately it seems to take about that long to sit through. Tedious misfire will lure few fests and charm fewer distribs, though gullible viewers could be rounded up for tube play.

A strained adult updating of the vintage folktale, chaotic “The Pied Piper” boasts of having been shot over 24 hours in and around old Prague — unfortunately it seems to take about that long to sit through. Tedious misfire will lure few fests and charm fewer distribs, though gullible viewers could be rounded up for tube play.

Tooling among the New Year’s Eve revelers in vintage red American convertible (which, for some reason, appears to have Missouri tags) is a raucous group trying to locate a clerk willing to marry Kristian (Brad Pitt lookalike Richard Krajco) and pregnant g.f. Agnes (pouty Ester Geislerova). During travels through the photogenic downtown squares and streets, the preening young people are stalked by the hulky black-clad title figure (Petr Jakl) and pestered by a crazed bell-ringer (Karel Dobry). Unfettered by the fx-laden, studio-bound tech demands of eye-catching 2001 fairytale anthology “Wild Flowers,” cameraman-turned-helmer F.A. Brabec employs annoying spotlights, spotty improv and sloppy camerawork to create a sense of urgency that ultimately plays as unplanned and forced. Fragments of the pied piper legend surface only here and there, leaving the viewer more puzzled than dazzled.

The Pied Piper

Czech Republic

Production

A Bontonfilm release (in the Czech Republic) of a J.B.J. Film production, in co-production with JVM, Dioptra. (International sales: J.B.J. Film, Prague.) Produced by Alena Jaklova. Directed by F.A. Brabec. Screenplay, Brabec, Ivana Novakova.

Crew

Camera (color), Brabec; editor, Jiri Brozek; music, Daniel Landa; art director, Vladimir Janosek; costume designer, Jaroslava Pecharova. Reviewed at Finale Pilsen Film Festival (competing), April 1, 2003. Running time: 64 MIN.

With

Petr Jakl, Ester Geislerova, Richard Krajco, Karel Dobry.
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