Wednesday 31 May 2023

Framed - 2021 film review

Framed is a new film, flawed and low-budget, but quite interesting as an example of an attempt to rewrite Rear Window as a story about moral dilemmas. Thomas Law plays Karl, who quits his job in order to pursue his dream of becoming a photographer. He becomes intrigued by an attractive female neighbour, and starts to take pictures of her from his London flat, as she appears at her own window in various states of undress.

Karl has a good friend in Virginia (Lottie Amor), who works for a law firm (although she doesn't display in-depth legal knowledge, to put it kindly). She finds out about Karl's photographic pastime and disapproves. Things become a little more complicated when Karl not only keeps snapping pictures but finds himself encouraged to do so by the neighbour. She sends him encouraging messages and starts to pose for him. Then Karl sees a man appearing in the neigbour's flat.

There's quite a bit of discussion about personal privacy in this film, although I think some reviews have been over-generous about the merits of that discussion: it's conducted on a pretty unsophisticated level and doesn't strike me as being as intelligent or as thought-provoking as some have claimed. The storyline of the film simply isn't strong or smart enough to enable writer-director Nick Rizzini to make many particularly meaningful or memorable points. 

There are thrillerish touches in the film, and an obviously phoney policeman makes an appearance at one point. Judged as a mystery, Framed doesn't succeed, but I don't think it should be judged as a mystery. Karl's naivete and foolishness are irritating, but the two lead actors are an appealing couple, and the real strength of the film lies in the depiction of the way their stuttering relationship develops, despite their disagreements about Karl's voyeuristic behaviour. And because of that focus on character, despite having numerous reservations, I did quite enjoy Framed.     

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