Garage Days

The third film in director Alex Proyas' burgeoning career is Garage Days. The main difference between this film and his first two, The Crow and Dark City is that this one uses lights. The other two were dark both in tone and scenery. Proyas turned the lights on for this one. While Garage Days is less compelling plotwise than the other two, what is clear is that Proyas has an eye for visual detail and style. However, instead of sexy gothic imagery or a forbidding nonidentifiable cityscape, Proyas opts for an ordinary looking middle to lower class Australian city to follow the exploits of a band trying to hit the big time. It doesn't help that this is not exactly an original story. The most notable thing about Garage Days is Proyas' use of the camera.

The best way to describe the style here is a hyperactive cameraman on crack. The camera is all over the place and scenes switch from one to another lightning-quick. The soundtrack is blaring, and the actors are wild. It's easy to see that Proyas is trying to convey the wild life and adventures that these people are experiencing (or long to experience), but it all comes across like he and co-writers Dave Warner (Cut) and Martin Udesky are trying to hide a limp script. The band may be on their way to the big time if they can keep themselves from exploding. It's been lead singer Freddy's (Kick Gurry, The Big House, The Thin Red Line) dream to succeed, and things look like they may be coming together when he meets mega-producer Shad Kern (Martin Csokas, Kangaroo Jack, XXX). Kern wants to see them play live, so all they need to do is book a gig.

However, their manager Bruno (Russell Dykstra, Lantana, Soft Fruit) is incompetent, and Freddy made the big mistake of kissing Kate (Maya Stange, XX/XY, In a Savage Land). The problem here is that Kate is dating Freddy's best friend and lead guitarist Joe (Brett Stiller), and Freddy is dating bassist Tanya (Pia Miranda, Queen of the Damned, Looking for Alibrandi). The last band member, drummer Lucy (Chris Sadrinna, Kick) is too busy trying to create the perfect drug. Although Kate and Joe are essentially no longer seeing each other, Joe freaks out and quits the band. Kate backs off from Freddy, wanting to set things right with Joe.

It sounds a lot like a soap opera, and at times feels like one too. Part of the reason is that Proyas concerns himself more with the bands internal relationships and interactions than its music. There is very little of the band's music in the film, and little footage of them playing. Nobody gets a sense of them as a band, just a bunch of friends. This leaves them to bicker and go through plenty of situations clearly meant to be amusing but barely sufficing. Heck, if Freddy were a little more mature, all these problems would disappear. Garage Days, has probably the most realistic (and in this manner, amusing) endings of movies of bands (or any other group of people, say, a sports team) trying to make it, but this isn't enough to make it more than a mild diversion.

Mongoose Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 45 minutes, Rated R for strong sexual content, drug use, and language.

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