Starring: Imelda Staunton, Carla Juri, Alec Secareanu, Angeliki Papoulia
Written and Directed by: Romola Garai
Running Time: 99 Minutes
Reviewed by: Dan Oles
Art films can have a reputation of being empty calories for snobs. This is largely unjust because many are inventive, daring, powerful experiments trying to expand the definitions and boundaries of art.
But some are failed experiments. The ideas don’t click, the execution is wonky, the pacing and continuity is a scattered mess. Whatever it is Amulet was trying to say, if anything, is lost in sloppy translation. There’s some nice haunting scenes and notions but they’re overshadowed by flat or hyperactive bouts of acting. Creepy and atmospheric locales are eclipsed by far too long and empty stretches of nothing. What might have been an intriguing and even simple horror tale bloats into obscure confusion and half-formed concepts clacking together but never quite sticking.
At first we see what appears to be a survivalist looking for work with traumatic memories of a war. So far so understandable. Then, without much fanfare at all, current events, past events, memories, dreams, it all comes thick and fast and muddled. If it wasn’t for blatant supernatural events you might accept this as a psychological puzzle to unravel, but with the introduction of dark magic anything is possible and by this barometer nearly nothing matters. Why did this happen? Usually the answer is as simple as the handwaving concept of magic’. That’s just not as comprehensible or meaningful as the internal landscape of the human psyche.
And if this is all in aid of wacky demon antics, why so many long, boring scenes?Unless you absolutely must watch a man walk inside a giant living shell there’s nothing here to see you haven’t seen before, and usually with better actors involved.