The Cliffhanger

The idea behind this Exquisite Corpse experiment (2003) is intriguing: using the same cast, 11 separate Chicago crews taped successive segments of this 92-minute narrative, each with only a week to view the previous episode or episodes, then write and shoot the next installment in its own style. There’s some attractive photography in chapter two, bizarre camera angles in three, good acting in five, striking electronic music and color filters in seven, and other felicities along the way. But I found the convoluted storywhich has something to do with a snuff videoalmost impossible to follow until things began to coalesce in the final chapters, by which time I had lost interest. The problem is that the shifting styles and accumulating plot turns become distractions rather than serving the story as a whole. (JR)

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