Director and co-writer Jennifer Chambers Lynch (the 40-year-old daughter of filmmaker David Lynch) has said that Surveillance was originally about witches. That might explain why the finished film, which is a thriller involving serial killers, is such a muddle, albeit an interesting one. It’s certainly a lot more watchable that Lynch’s previous film, Boxing Helena, the laughable psychosexual romance she made her debut with 15 years ago. Where Lynch seemed to know what she wanted to do but not how to do it, with her follow-up she appears not quite sure of what kind of film she’s making, but nevertheless makes a better job of its execution.
Two FBI agents (Julia Ormond and Bill Pullman) turn up at a backwater sheriff’s office in the wake of the latest assault by a killer on the loose they’re tracking. Three of the killer’s would-be victims have escaped to seek safety with the local cops. It falls to agents Anderson and Hallaway to interview everyone in sight, and it’s here that some hi-tech surveillance equipment comes into play. So far so interesting, not least because the decent cast also features Michael Ironside and Pell James, who you might recall as a hippy girl in Jim Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers. Unfortunately, Lynch is prone to longeurs, notably the tedious setting up of the interrogations and an irrelevant scene during which the young jock cops terrorise some tourists. Still, the denouement is pleasingly perverse.
General release, Fri 6 Mar.