Customer Review

2 of 2 people found this review useful

starstarstarhalf a starA Delightful Musical Romp

written by dmt5 on May 26th, 2010read all my reviews

this review is from: All My Friends Are Funeral Singers (DVD)

Artistic ruminations on the matters of life and death are not uncommon in film, especially for smaller independent features. In spite of this, All My Friends are Funeral Singers manages to stand out. Equal parts comic and tragic, Funeral Singers provides a fresh spin on what otherwise could have been a gravely dull feature by taking a remarkably unique and theatrical approach to the proceedings.

The film at first seems like two disparate plot-lines running simultaneously, one centering around a fortune teller named Zell and the other around a group of ghosts. Soon, however, these two plot threads become one, and the film begins to truly gel into a cohesive whole. Part of the film's surrealistic appeal is the way it keeps the audience guessing as to what exactly is going on. Angela Bettis does a commendable job as Zell, managing to seem appropriately haunted without ever devolving into self-parody or shrieking hysterics, and the menagerie of ghosts all play their (admittedly somewhat limited) roles well.

Though the base story is satisfying in its own right, where Funeral Singers ultimately excels is in its style. Director Tim Rutili infuses the film with a dark, bizarre atmosphere through some very simple means, such as the slight tilt of a camera on some scenes or the grainy, home-movie-type filter applied to others. Credit, too, must be given to the score, a catchy yet unsettling group of country-flavored tunes that enhance the film more than any amount of cliched weeping strings would have.

As previously mentioned, the film's slight use of CGI is distracting enough to bring attention to itself, and some other directorial choices seem somewhat cheesy. Also, the character of Zell's boyfriend Henry is so lacking in development and screen-time that he may as well not be there, and the pacing at times can seem somewhat sluggish.

However, these issues are minute in the grand scheme of things. All My Friends are Funeral Singers proves to be a success both because of and in spite of its highly experimental nature.

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by baldmannj
commented on Jun 3rd, 2010
1 of 1 people found this comment helpful

Excellent review; Rutili and Califone are huge in indie rock. It seems logical that he expand his talents in indie films.

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