Jack & Diane
dir-scr Bradley Rust Gray
prd Karin Chien, Jen Gatien, Bradley Rust Gray, So Yong Kim
with Juno Temple, Riley Keough, Cara Seymour, Kylie Minogue, Haviland Morris, Dane DeHaan, Michael Chernus, Lou Taylor Pucci, Neal Huff, Jen Ponton, Rock Kohli, Kurt Carley
release US 2.Nov.12, UK Mar.13 llgff
12/US 1h45
Jack & Diane
Young love: Temple and Keough

minogue dehaan pucci
london l&g film fest
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Jack & Diane Even though it's infused with moody atmosphere that captures the confusion of first love, this gimmicky romance is indulgent and infuriatingly hesitant about its plot and characters. A clever horror subtext rendered in Quay Brothers' animation helps, but its energy is so relentlessly low that the film feels interminable.

While visiting her aunt (Seymour) in New York, the sickly, offbeat Diane (Temple) isn't quite sure what to make of the romantic overtures she gets from the tomboyish Jack (Keough), who invites her to a Manhattan club. Crippled by murky visions of what looks like a hairy stop-motion insect, Diane responds to Jack's attentions and the two embark on a romance. But Diane is moving to Paris soon to attend school, and begins to panic about how to keep Jack in her life.

Rising stars Temple and Keough create realistic characters within the awkward, surreal situations, which are lushly shot with vivid attention to colours and music. But the film lurches and mopes along, never quite filling in the gaps in the story or characters. Diane is so fragile and inarticulate that it's not easy to like her, so we don't understand why Jack is so instantly smitten. Until they face being separated, they never seem to have an actual conversation.

So since their relationship never feels remotely authentic, it's difficult to feel involved in any of the random stream of issues these girls face. When they're together they just look depressed, and moments of tenderness or humour are rare. Even a brief adventure to use a hotel swimming pool is oddly unexciting, although it's one of the rare moments when the couple has a chance to get physical. At least things are livened up by a stream of terrific one-scene cameos.

The film also has a strong sense of the girls' physicality, as Diane is plagued by nosebleeds and perhaps some sort of internal transformation (the animation nightmares add some dark terror) and Jack lives a rough-and-tumble skater-boy life in the streets. But writer-director Gray also packs each scene with muttered fragments of dialog and deliberately quirky touches that ring false. This leaves the fantasy-horror element as easily the most interesting thing on screen.

cert 15 themes, language, violence, sexuality 28.Feb.13

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