Reviews of Hooked
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Never has a camera been so indecisive about in which body it wishes to reside and which point of view it wishes to adopt. “Indecisive” is perhaps an inexact term here as Sitaru has clearly decided to construct his film from the inside out by purposely and persistently shifting its point of view. In a way, this comes off as amateurish in the way the camera can’t keep still. Yet, the concept and the narrative is so compelling that it fixes you to the screen even as you overcome seasickness to appreciate what’s truly being offered.
I had a great discussion with cinematographer Alexis Zabe (Duck Season, Lake Tahoe, Silent Light) about this film. This might be a bit spoilerish so stop reading if such things concern you.
One of the film’s most fascinating aspects is precisely that it should not be taken literally. I’m not the first to suggest that the character Ana might be a figment of conscience. I saw her as a “witch of the woods”; an archetypal presence rendered in nearly every culture of the world. I asked Alexis if he was aware of the Mayan legend of the xtabay, which he was, and he agreed with me that Ana falls into that category of the seductress who lures men to calamity.
Why does Mihal not save Ana when she cries out that she’s drowning? Perhaps for the same reason that classic Ulysses resists the sirens.
If one can get past the tumultuous camera work (definitely sit back from the screen on this one), this film rewards handsomely with evocative themes.