Clementine

Setting itself up as an erotic thriller, Clementine, which had its debut at Tribeca last year, is not what you’d expect from this type of film. Not what you would expect in that there are precious few erotic moments and not much suspense. That leaves you questioning what it is all about.

Part of the problem is how carelessly the key elements of the film are simply brushed over. Instead of some depth, which would add to both story and characters, we just get a superficial examination of both. This does not allow you to invest yourself in the characters nor really be subsumed into the story.

After a breakup, Karen (Otmara Marrero – Yoshua) decides to get away from Los Angeles for a bit. Where she decides to flee to is the Pacific Northwest to her ex’s cabin in the woods. After breaking a window to get in she looks forward to some quiet, recovery time. What she gets instead is a young girl infiltrating her life.

Lana (Sydney Sweeney – from television’s Euphoria) is young and inexperienced. Despite her broken heart and the age difference, Karen cannot seem to resist her. Soon she is more embroiled than either could have predicted.

They say that the heart wants what it wants. Despite the fact that anyone in their right mind could have told Karen to stay away from Lana, it is like she has no control. Love and its power over us. Power is a thread/theme which runs through the entire film. Who has it and who doesn’t. When you plug in the difference in age as well that power dynamic becomes even more twisted.

Sounds intriguing doesn’t it? And yet it doesn’t work. You never really care about who likes or is attracted to who. Because of the superficial way the story is set up. We don’t know enough about either character. Plus the fact that the character of Lana is so thin and stereotypical that she does not draw you in.

The film is not without merit as the pacing is great as it moves slowly through the story. Never rushing things despite the fact that it is a trim 90 minutes. The languid pace coupled with a rather indie shade of grey soundtrack adds up to a rather eerie atmosphere. One in which you expect the bough to break at any moment. Yet it never really does.

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