The Treasure Island DVD should be required viewing in any film production course! It's a textbook example of how NOT to make a movie. Watching the movie and then listening to the writer/director's commentary demonstrates graphically the vast chasm between what he knows about the characters and what he communicates to his audience about them. Call me old-fashioned, but I think of movies as a means of communication, and communication isn't complete if the audience doesn't know what the hell the director is talking about. The director's avowed purpose is to make a movie void of "Hollywood conventions". Among those conventions, alas, is consistency of character and clarity of concept. The director himself realizes that audiences often don't understand points where he has purposely avoided a "Hollywood cliche". However, he never seems to grasp the idea that cliches exist for a reason. They are shorthand for conveying complex ideas quickly and clearly. It's fine to avoid them, but they need to be replaced with some other way of communicating the same idea, not simply eliminated. The film is built on an intriguing premise, rich with potential. Two guys are assigned to fabricate a personality and background for an unidentified corpse that is to be used in a disinformation mission in the closing days of WWII. Soon each begins to populate their personal fantasies with the character and their invention becomes increasingly real to them. Someone with less disdain for the "Hollywood convention" of traditional storytelling could create a wonderful film with this idea. This film certainly isn't it! The actors do everything they can to bring consistency to these characters, but they are all too often defeated by the dazed and confused script. In particular, I'm becoming increasingly impressed by Jonah Blechman, who plays the lively corpse. In a number of independent films, he always stands out as a very charismatic young actor.
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