Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Borderlands


 
***
“That Crellick…he’s a few rosaries short of a crucifix.”

“He lies beneath ever hungrier for souls… ..Now I see the perfect hideous logic of the orphanage. I may have a new master now.”

“Now it has returned…like weeds that creep through an abandoned building.”

After a debunking in Brazil goes awry, a “miracle investigator” for the Vatican is partnered with a “New Age Catholic Priest” (one of those skeptical of anything remotely considered a “miracle” believing that all this does is drag The Church back into the “Middle Ages”) and a tech wiz (cameras and audio/video equipment are his expertise/specialty) to disprove (or, if it is at all possible, successfully prove) a miracle in this village church located in British countryside quite off the beaten path. Through historical investigation it is soon learned that the church was built upon a pagan property once devoted to a specific yet unrecorded god that seems to have recovered from its dormancy. With security cameras set up all over this cottage where they sleep and the church itself, along with mini-cameras to be worn on their heads, the Vatican will have better access to their investigators throughout due to so much documented footage. Yep, here’s another found footage film, this time following two Catholics from different eras of the religion, and a techie with no ties to Catholicism (hired as an outside consultant) viewing a church, its awkward and increasingly disturbed priest, and the miracle that supposedly happened within the building during a baby’s christening as if a mystery to solve. The Catholics seem almost totally skeptical; interestingly, the tech guy seems more susceptible to a possible miracle, willing to look at what happens with less skepticism.

For me, the film’s opening hour is more or less a “getting to know the characters” access as the cameras allow us to learn all we need to know about them from a religious and humanistic standpoint. The friendship between old school Deacon (Gordon Kennedy), carrying an anviled weight after his mission to return priests home ends in a massacre he could’ve avoided and agnostic tech genius Gray (Robin Hill) is certainly one of the significant aspects of this access to them as chats on miracles and Catholicism (a suicidal leap from the roof of the church definitely has the two confronting the shock of “mortal sin” and how the investigation of the church has provided unforeseen developments they were unprepared for), religion and the history of the church are spoken about in conversations. Mark (Aidan McArdle) is the priest with an intense demand for strict policy and following the procedures and rules specifically dictated by the Vatican; Mark isn’t the kind of Catholic easily persuaded and seems to find scientific theories for anything even remotely possibly paranormal.

I knew going into this film that perception of The Borderlands was quite impressive. I was skeptical as the characters in the film that it could be that incredible, as some criticisms towards pace and the camerawork were taken under advisement by me. However, the end and its twist were so magnificent I found myself considering those apt critiques prior to it not as detrimental. I can’t unfortunately lay claim to it but “entering the belly of the beast”, used elsewhere to describe the finale (in a comment by a user regarding it on the film’s imdb page) did pop in my mind as it transpires. The discovery of the entrance of the underground and how the descent concludes with acid burns and screams is quite a stunner to watch unfold. The whole film does lead up to this finale and there are “markers” along the way to indicate this. The sounds of baby/child cries, the diary of a priest prior to the close of the church in 1880, the history of the location, and how the whole “miracle” starts through a christening are such markers. While nothing at all happens at the cottage (this was more to document the activities of the three men involved in the investigation due to the circumstances revolving around Deacon’s failed mission in Brazil), the slow burn unraveling in the church builds to quite an apex. The head cams approach was a fun touch that provides first-person perspectives between those talking, and the sinister night scenes in the church with its unsettled priest, Father Crellick (Luke Neal), are certainly atmospheric enough. But that ending is the clincher. This may be considered a love-it/hate-it film in that I have read different viewpoints on The Borderlands. Boring and enthralling from these opposing sides. For the most part I liked it, but I must admit that it does take quite a while to really impact with its premise. I liked the characters, though, and found the debates, friction, humor (mainly by Gray), and frustrations between them quite fascinating and compelling at times. Worth a look but I wouldn’t totally embellish it with the kind of glowing praise as others who seemed to be smitten with The Borderlands.
http://brianscarecrow88.tumblr.com/post/86160203516/the-borderlands
http://brianscarecrow88.tumblr.com/post/86159832216/the-borderlands
http://brianscarecrow88.tumblr.com/post/86172901351/the-borderlands
http://brianscarecrow88.tumblr.com/post/86173486281/the-borderlands
http://brianscarecrow88.tumblr.com/post/86173900181/the-borderlands

2 comments:

  1. I was a big fan of this one. Very impressive :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I actually read the Flickfeast review and realized that this film has its fans. I consider myself one of them.

    ReplyDelete

I had a fun dialogue with a young lady I work with about the rather hilarious scenes particularly in romantic comedies and action genre wher...

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Doctor Gogol: Did you ever hear of Galatea?

Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: Gala - who? Not wanting a statue of him, are you?

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