Rating: 1 / 5
‘Plush’ is not a better love story than ‘Twilight’.
That said, ‘Twilight’ is not a better love story than anything since the existence of this planet. The mind-boggling, pants-wetting TV classic ‘The Twilight Zone’ is still a better love story than ‘Twilight’. You get where this is going.
I wonder where 58–year-old Catherine Hardwicke’s headspace at. She directed both ‘Plush’ and ‘Twilight’ (2008) and her showreel is getting worse (read: the sorcery that is 2011’s ‘Red Riding Hood’.)
It seems that she’s lazing back into the big screen after the first of that highly successful and nauseating vampire franchise which opened at US$70 million --the highest grossing for any debuting female director.
It seems that she has been bled out of her earlier unique stripped-down and genuine style of filmmaking with films such as the endearingly juvenile ‘Thirteen’ (2003) -- launch pad for actress Nikki Reed’s career -- and, every skateboarder’s must-have cult classic, ‘Lords of Dogtown’ (2005).
If Hardwicke’s ‘Plush’ is anything to go by, her next work would probably be some boring drama about some lawyers—who are secretly attracted to each other—clashing over some police sex scandal in some small town made for the small screen.
Oh wait, that’s is her next project. It’s a TV movie called ‘Reckless’, which ironically encapsulates ‘Plush’ –a messy psychological-romantic-musical-soft porn-indie-soapy-melodrama of a blip.
The shoddy film is about Hayley (played by forever-distraught looking Emily Browning), the frontwoman of this eponymous rock band, who is dealing with the death of her—figuratively joined at the hip—guitarist brother from a heroin overdose (15 minutes of Thomas Dekker).
She also has to deal with a creepy Chinese fan, a loving but jealous crime journalist househusband Carter (played by the always squinting Cam Gigandet), a wild nanny who suddenly appears, and a new guitarist Enzo (Xavier Samuel) whose sexual orientation is as confusing as this film.
‘Plush’ opens with a rocking scene. No, not rock and roll. You know, stones. Loads of it; raining on a woman who has her head helplessly strapped facing upwards and arms tied to a chair (though we can’t see who she is) and whose chilly shrills begs the question: why are you screaming when stones are pouring on your face?
The premise is set; this film is going to be goof-ridden, and judging by the lengthy opening title sequence, it will also be soundtracked by some obscure indie and rock music Hipster Times would approve.
In one scene, Hayley escapes from a crazed Chinese fan backstage thanks to Enzo –who she’s still trying to figure out. They ended up in her hotel room. (You know, thanks to teleportation.)
Hayley conveniently forgets that an obsessed fan was chasing them minutes ago and is obviously more stressed out about the poor reception to her latest sad songs in tribute to her late brother.
Enzo notices this and decides to help her relax. Out of nowhere, he whips out a toiletry bag (he wasn’t carrying one earlier) filled with stuff like massage oils and a dildo. No guessing what happens next.
They continue their sexcapade. Hayley finds out that Enzo has a tattoo of her and her brother up his butt crack. Back home, suddenly a wild nanny appears. Enzo weirdly includes himself in Hayley’s family by cozying up to her husband and twin kids. All this while, Hayley has been receiving increasingly threatening gifts. Who’s the lunatic out to get Hayley? Stuff of movie legends this is.
At the meantime, no one delivers.
Browning can barely walk in boots let alone take on a maternal role convincingly. Samuel is so inconsistently over the top that his thick eyeliner plays a steadier character. Nick Launay, a producer and engineer who has worked with Arcade Fire and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, wrote the music that sounds like TV soap ‘Days of our Lives’ trying to cover The xx.
Hardwicke’s directing and writing is seemingly at odds with each other, noticeably throughout the film’s arch and aptly from its absurd climax.
‘Plush’ tries to be an on-the-edge-of-your-seat kind of film when at the end of it all, you’ll find yourself slumped into your seat wondering what you could have done with the time wasted.
At least now we get a sense of what that woman, who was strapped to a chair with stones pouring down her face, felt like.