Review: ‘That’s Life’

Whimsy gives way to fatal self-indulgence in Pawel Chochlew's debut feature, "That's Life." The latest filmic evidence that Quentin Tarantino's global influence has been an extremely mixed blessing, thesp vet Chochlew seems to get giddy once he's behind the camera but has few ideas to back up his paper thin concept about two chaps trying to make a movie.

Whimsy gives way to fatal self-indulgence in Pawel Chochlew’s debut feature, “That’s Life.” The latest filmic evidence that Quentin Tarantino’s global influence has been an extremely mixed blessing, thesp vet Chochlew seems to get giddy once he’s behind the camera but has few ideas to back up his paper thin concept about two chaps trying to make a movie. It’s caveat emptor for the few fests and distribs willing to pay attention.

Movie partners are pointlessly labeled N (Artur Ponek) and N2 (Rafal Mackowiak), with N mostly in charge. In what may or may not be self-deprecation, N claims that he wants to make “a movie with a difference,” but has no clue how to go about it. Naturally, the two N’s struggle in this creative vacuum, but the movie in N’s head intrudes onto the screen, featuring a character (Maciej Kozlowski) who likes to walk, smile and make love. Several “rewinds” of the action — “correcting” a botched scene –play as if the Farrelly Brothers were remaking Haneke’s “Funny Games.” There’s a visually playful attitude at work here, undercut by excessively self-aware stabs at cleverness for its own sake.

That's Life

Poland

Production

A Media For presentation. Produced by Robert Zokedziewski. Directed, written by Pawel Chochlew.

Crew

Camera (color), Jacek Rudnicki; editor, Marek Krol; music, Golden Life; production designer, Piotr Auerbach; costume designer, Ewa Pietras. Reviewed on videocassette, Los Angeles, May 27, 2005. (In Polish Film Festival, Los Angeles.) Running time: 71 MIN.

With

Artur Ponek, Rafal Mackowiak, Maciej Kozlowski, Ewa Szykulska, Pawel Burczyk, Katarzyna Paskuda.
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