Thursday, February 24, 2011

Whatever Happened To Pete Blaggit - Review

On first viewing Whatever Happened To Pete Blaggit I thought I must have dozed off.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I was bored, quite the contrary, but the previous ninety minutes of my life had been so odd that a strange and twisted dream seemed like the only plausible explanation.

I was pleased however to discover that the adventures of Pete Blaggit were not the creation of my own subconscious. Had they been I think it would potentially have been time to call the men in white coats. What does worry me though is that someone had to think up that plot, and I sincerely hope that person is not still at liberty.

Whatever Happened To Pete Blaggit tells the tale of failed wedding filming entrepreneur Pete whose life has dwindled from bright promise into divorced, bereaved alcoholism. Pete, having begged, burrowed and stolen from all who might love him, descends to new depths after his ex-wife kicks him out of the house when he trashes a friend’s wedding.

Just when it seems that all is lost opportunity comes to Pete in a strange form; he is abducted and raped by aliens before returning to Earth and making the acquaintance of time management consultant Uri.
The weird and winding paths down which Pete now travels are both upsetting and grotesque. On one level this film is a real heart-wrenching tale; Pete looks back upon the loss of his baby son as the point in his past at which his life began to unravel and throughout the film he has to learn to come to terms with this event. The emotional ups and downs of all the characters as Pete falls further and further from grace are brilliantly acted but somewhat overly enforced by a slightly strange Wizard Of Oz metaphor.

By the end of the film I really did want Pete to turn his life around, I wanted things to be okay for him. And that alone is surely testament enough to the film's worth, that and the fact that I kept on viewing right up to the finish line.

The alien rape scene is, mercifully, both suggestive and brief but some of Pete’s hallucinations might make you leave the landing light on for a couple of nights. The opening of Pete and Eugene’s advert is sublime and the rough filming throughout does little to distract from the action. The supporting characters are also well conceived and likeable although the ‘baddies’ may be a little unnecessarily mean. The less said about Uri the better. Not because I deem him ridiculous (well maybe just a little) but because he is an enigma best left undisturbed.

I’m still unsure whether Whatever Happened To Pete Blaggit is a silly, simple tale of one man’s second attempt at life or a deeper social commentary on how easy it is to begin your descent into the dank streets of Loserville. As the former I was entertained, as the latter I didn’t get it. Either way this is a diverting and unique film with a great cast and some interesting twists. But there are far too many glowing lights and plastic aliens to make you respond with anything other than: huh?


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