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  Anne at 13,000 Ft. Falling Hard
Year: 2019
Director: Kazik Radwanski
Stars: Deragh Campbell, Matt Johnson, Dorothea Paas, Michael Kuthe, Joseph Simon, Pat Bianco, Lawrene Denkers, Helly Chester, Tiffany Blom, Salma Dharsee, Theresa Vo, Lisa Aitken, Daniel Coo, Tyshia Drake, Kasia Dyszkiewicz, Ryan MacDuff, Nanthini Namasti
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Anne (Deragh Campbell) is a children's daycare worker, having had the job secured for her by her best friend Sarah (Dorothea Paas). Sarah is getting married soon, and as a spectacular stunt for her bachelorette party, she has taken her pals to a skydiving school to experience jumping out of an aeroplane, with a parachute, of course. For Anne, this is a treat like no other, she is extraordinarily taken with the stunt and makes up her mind to try it more times, but it also seems to act as a catalyst in her mind that sends her hurtling towards a state she might have been in before, but certainly does not need to be in again. Everyone tries to treat her with kindness and tolerance, but at work patience is lacking, and she may be in the wrong job...

Or rather, she might be in the right place, among kids, for she is more of a child in her demeanour than a grown woman, a matter you feel someone should be addressing but as it plays, everyone else have their own problems and don't have the time to attend to Anne's. Is it significant that while we see her participating in the skydiving early in the drama, we never see her land, much like another psychologically troubled character, James Stewart's in Vertigo - we never see him rescued and taken down from his precarious perch either. Anne had a far better time in her expedition than Stewart ever did, but the effect seems to be similar, a cracking up that leads to choices that would be more useful not being adopted at all.

Campbell, in a partly improvised performance, went all out to depict the breakdown her character was suffering, and with the camera of director Kazik Radwanski in her face for almost the whole movie, there was nowhere for her to hide in any of the scenes, she had to be "on" as much as possible, ideally one hundred percent of the time. You could tell the conversations with the actual children were made up on the spot as they had that spontaneity and naturalism, but Campbell's playing was containing that as well, linking Anne's mentality to that of an arrested adolescent despite being in her mid-twenties. When she starts acting up like a naughty schoolgirl, or worse, a petulant toddler, it's disturbing to watch since she is exhibiting behaviour that does not fit in with that of a normal mindset, and you begin to think her flakiness is not charming, but troubling.

There was a lot less skydiving in the story than you would expect, considering the title, with only brief cutaways to Anne taking lessons in preparation for the grand finale, if you could call it that, when she embarks on a solo jump, something that only throws up all sorts of additional worries (like: what if she decides she likes the falling too much that she doesn't open her parachute?). Aren't skydivers screened to see if they are suited to the adventure? Apparently not. In the meantime, she gets a boyfriend, Matt (Matt Johnson) who she met at a Sarah's wedding after he was impressed by her rambling, weirdly aggressive maid of honour speech but ends up helping Anne through her drunken stumblings after too much champagne. The issue there being, she doesn't need the alcohol to behave erratically, as we see when the pressure at work gets too much and she predictably goes off the rails. Interestingly, we can perceive how Anne would be infuriating, but also that she has problems that go beyond any kind of stern talking to from her bosses to fix. It was a brief effort (seventy-five minutes!), but packed a lot of intensity in.

[Click here to watch on MUBI.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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