Violet is an interesting film that straddles the razors edge of student film and art film. The first thing that struck me regarding the film was its aspect ratio. It abandoned the conventional anamorphic or 16 by 9 ratio in favor of a 3 by 4 ratio. I found this distracting. The opening scene was cleverly shot using 4 monitors from video surveillance cams in the mall where Jesse witnessed a violent stabbing of a friend and fellow BMX cyclist in a Mall corridor. Jesse passively looks on as the youth gang beats and stabs his friend to death. This choice allows the viewer to witness the violence from 4 different angles simultaneously and at the same time one can choose in a directorial fashion what angle seems to tell the story most effectively in a subjective manner. It has minimal dialog and uses visuals to tell the story. Throughout the film there are stunning visual moments capturing “BMXers” riding and negotiating various courses. But the film mostly broods and decays Jesse’s mental state in gradual degrees. A quick summery of Violet’s aesthetic is THX 1138 meets BMX culture. It was an interesting and at times colorful ride but strains one’s patience with the occasional tedious vacuums of Nietzsche-esque voids. It would have been better made into a short.
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