Directed by #PhilipBrocklehurst
Arthouse filmmaking is a creatively limitless space in film discourse and a surely liberating one for the maker, if not always for the viewer. No doubt about it, the spirit of such independence can be a hard beast to master for your audience and depending on what you have to say, how you choose to say it and its thematic connection with the onlooker, you can find yourself alienating some viewers while enthralling others. The key really is an open mind and - with director/writer/producer/actor/cinematographer/editor #PhilipBrocklehurst’s latest film - quite a bit of tolerance for the approach.
The film sees a lone man (#JonathanSkyeOBrien) sat bored and eager for some excitement flicking through the channels and seeking personal and sexual fulfilment but struggling to find it.
Excitement acts as a tribute to the films of French New Wave director #JeanLucGodard and, like the pioneer it is adoring of and inspired by, this film experiments with the medium but sadly is more Film Socialisme than Breathless. Brocklehurst’s bravery is worthy of deep admiration, for he does comment on some interesting subtexts like surpassed homosexuality, the changing gender balances and modern attitudes towards sex, while also risking losing a huge percentage of any audience with his dedicatedly drawn out approaches and very low budget experimentation.
Despite being a real drag, there are probably some interesting things for arthouse cinema enthusiasts to be found here, sadly, overall this offering is far more in your face with its symbolism and does often take the work out of things. Increasingly profane or explicit buzzwords pop onscreen and heavy-handed imagery often abjectly tells you what to think and the first two thirds of the film are patience-sappingly slow and monotonous. Admittedly allowing for meditation on such eroticism if you so desire but it is not a particularly exciting experience of thought and come an extreme sadomasochism fantasy interview sequence mid-film, Excitement seems unsure whether it is played for psychologically sexually obsessive surrealism or just dark absurd humour (with the silly gravelly voice and continuously crude dialogue).
Performance is really less important here than the experience, although towards the back end of the movie, we see Jonathan Skye-O’Brien (who also co-wrote the story with Brocklehurst and co-penned the screenplay/was co-cinematographer with Brocklehurst and Yenni Rocha - who features onscreen as ‘The Seductress’) thankfully inject some character and charm into proceedings and in turn actually giving lead Montgomery chance to give us a peak at his true nature, outside of the sexually ungratified desperation that preceded. In fact, the sometimes pulsating music by #VladislavNogin (also credited as sound mixer and dialogue editor) is perhaps the most dominant character in the entire film. Everyone else unfortunately is more of a visual tool in this prolonged and phantasmagorical narrative.
Unfortunately this didn’t work for me and as much as I admire the drive, effort and lengths taken to confront viewers, I felt thoroughly ungripped by it. There are some stabs at slight comedy but it is definitely a film with inclinations firmly on the artistic, with the final stretch by far being the stronger piece of the story and actually rescuing the film from tiring you out entirely.
Brocklehurst’s film is an endurance test of repetition as I am sure it is intended to be and feels rather like the stereotypical artsy student film. Again though, with the right tolerance, one may find much within its pornographic and impulsive ruminations.