VIOLENT BLUE Drawing inspiration from highbrow art-house templates, lowbrow midnight-movie blueprints and silent film, writer-director Gregory Hatanaka's Violent Blue is a mishmash of tones and intentions. Three overlapping tales play out; in the main one, Katarina (Silvia Suvadova) is a brilliant music scholar trying to complete the potential masterwork of a dead composer while struggling with the news that her violent husband is about to be released from jail. Her brother Ondrej (Jesse Hlubik) is an off-kilter inventor enmeshed with shady businessmen who are leaning on him. Ondrej's neighbor Kylie (Andrea Harrison), a student of mathematics and musicology, works for the same businessmen. As the film lunges from plot point to plot point en route to Katarina completing the music piece — and employs subtitles for the three languages spoken in the film, as well as title cards, artsy black-and-white cutaways, lots of screaming and gesticulating from the actors and cheesy pop songs on the soundtrack — it oscillates between knowingly over-the-top and just plain bad. As Katarina sits caged by her husband, who insists he's imprisoned her so she can finish her work, you could generously argue that the film is saying something about the correlation between oppression (especially female subjugation) and creativity. But then Hatanaka doles out the hoary sight of Katarina lapping water from a dog's dish and you realize this is just his shit. (Ernest Hardy) (Culver Plaza)
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