Gerald Wright's Movie Coverage
THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS MOVIE REVIEW
Directed by: Bruce McDonald
Running time: 77 minutes
Release date: May 9, 2008
MPAA Rating: Not rated
For the film The Tracey Fragments, Canadian filmmaker and director Bruce McDonald teams up with fellow Canadian Maureen Medved. Medved is the screenplay writer and author of the novel by the same title . The plot is a disturbing story of a 15 year old girl traveling in the back of a bus during a blizzard. The odd situation of the plot is that she is naked except for a shower curtain covering her body. What makes this more bizarre is the fact that it is shown in split screen formats.
Fifteen year old Tracey Berkowitz (Ellen Page) has been riding on a bus through a blizzard for two days, looking for her missing 10 year old brother Sonny (Zie Souwand) who thinks he's a dog (because he constantly barks). As I mentioned in my prior paragraph, she in naked except for a shower curtain wrapped around herself. From the back seat of the bus she narrates her story in layers. She speaks of herself in a second and third party manner, as if she has problems in identifying herself.
The split screens give various segments of her life. One part of Tracey's life is of a tormented girl in school by very cruel classmates. At home she is neglected by her parents who are at each others throat. Tracey's parents refer to her as being like her mentally unstable grandmother. But deep down, Tracey does love her little brother Sonny. Tracey finds herself escaping reality often by sexually fantasizing over a cool guy in her class called Billy Zero (Slim Twig). Other times she manages to have her mind clear when she is speaking with her cross dressing psychiatrist Dr. Hecker (Julian Richings). On the other end of her mental pendulum, she wishes her dead.
The skillful mixture of Tracey's facts and fantasies are fragmented in multiple screens displaying a taut and riveting narrative. The portrait these scenes show is a teenage girl on the edge of insanity. Every sequence of this masterful film gives a raw and moving account of twists and turns unveiling that she was raped, betrayed and in denial.
This narrative has Ellen Page in almost every frame making this her own vehicle. Page delivers a brilliant performance. The range Page displays portraying this unique character distinguishes her as one of the most talented actresses today. Most people will think that this is her new film. The fact of the matter is that she made this film before her Best Actress Oscar nominated film JUNO (2007).
At first, I wasn't really prepared for the unconventional images on screen. After getting past the first 5 to 10 minutes of the erratic film , I settled down and became very comfortable with the format. Strangely enough the credits rolled off on the screen after 15 minutes into the story. I found all of these unorthodox methods of filmmaking amazing. As this story evolved, I was hooked on this captivating film.
FILM RATING (A)