I found it difficult to care for the characters in this film, usually a fatal problem for a movie unless it’s a popcorn roller-coaster pic. It’s Gus van Sant’s use of non-professionals, ranging for okay to terrible, that alienated me from the film; this isn’t a problem in itself as he did the same in the brilliant Elephant (2003). Chris Doyle’s cinematography is, as usual, fabulous and though Li Rain’s skateboarding camerawork is impressive, I got bored of it rapidly; clearly another problem for me.
I’m not sure what the point was of framing the ‘murder mystery’ narrative with the protagonist’s retelling. It seemed as if it were going to be some postmodern ‘cleverness’ but, if it was, I didn’t get it.