The Upper Footage (2013)

The Upper Footage (2013)

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Bit creepy...
Bit creepy…

Twitter Plot Summary: A night of drinking and drug taking takes a turn for the tragic in this found footage story.

Five Point Summary:

1. Drinks and drugs.
2. More drinks and drugs!
3. The incident occurs…
4. Some driving
5. Sitting around in a car…

I’ve said before, but I’m not a huge fan of the found footage sub-genre. With the exception of Chronicle, which did something slightly different with the format, most of them tend to have either a strong opening or a strong finale, but the other half seems to lose its way or move off into strange territories. The Upper Footage is a strong contender for one of the better found footage films I’ve seen, and other than a few missteps and a lack of narrative drive in the second half, it definitely has moments of power and the ability to surprise.

The story is thus: a group of young and wealthy socialites go out for a night of drinking, partying and drug taking. After a lengthy night out they return to Blake’s apartment where the party continues and one of the guys brings a girl back with him, where she overdoses. I don’t want to go into too much detail in terms of the plot from that point forward as it’s better for you to go into it with as little information as possible. Suffice to say there are a couple of extremely powerful shots that help define the film, and there’s also something inherently creepy about a girl whose face has been pixelated in order to protect her identity and her family.

The opening of the movie sets up the story effectively – the footage we are seeing is described as an edited version of approximately 400 minutes of video shot by the group on the night in question and establishes that big names in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino among them, wanted to buy the footage for no doubt honest cinematic purposes. Or something. There’s also a blackmail plot aimed at the girl’s family which is essentially the reason for the footage now being out “in the wild” as it were.

You've erm... you've got something on your nose there mate...
You’ve erm… you’ve got something on your nose there mate…

The second half of the film I feel is less effective. The story builds up to the overdose and thereafter takes a dive into hysteria. Whilst this is an entirely believable situation in terms of the real world, as far as film narrative goes it loses a lot of its impact and nothing really of note happens for 45 minutes. That’s a lot of time that could’ve been put to better use. On a more positive note, the performances are strong, realistic and entirely appropriate for the situation at hand. There’s a lot of talent here, I’m glad to say.

It’s hard to say that any lesson is learned by the socialites, particularly given how the footage plays out and the final text scrawl that outlines what happened next. Perhaps that’s the point, and without going into any specifics it may be a commentary on the notion that if you have money and connections then you’re not accountable, even for the most horrific of circumstances. That’s perhaps the most shocking point of all, and one that is well made. Despite the narrative misstep in the second half, the real winner here is the marketing campaign which has been crafted perfectly and should perhaps be considered as a necessary extension of the film itself. A good effort from all involved, and I’m interested to see where they go next.

Score: 3.5/5

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Af7C-j6494

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