Experience of Watching The Outsider

In 1942 Albert Camus published a novel called L’Étranger. The title of the novel is often translated into The Stranger or The Outsider.

This blog entry is not about that novel. This blog entry is about a 2014 film written by a man who had a starring role in a British soap opera and is probably best known for Call of Duty voiceovers.

As films go it contained a couple of famous names (James Caan, Shannon Elizabeth, Jason Patric, yes that is Godfather, American Pie and The Lost Boys) and it wasn’t a great film. It wasn’t the most annoying film I’ve seen, it was the worst type of film, it was generally missable in just about every way, except I can’t stop thinking about it. And that is beginning to annoy me.

There were laughable moments of generally poor film making. At one point Lex Walker returns to his London home. I know it is London because they showed me a clip that included a London bus, a London taxi and what I remember as Piccadilly Circus, except the house Walker arrives at is nothing like any house you’d find in the UK. Instead, it is a hacienda style Californian home with an interior bedroom balcony overhanging the living room. Even in the flashback to Walker pushing his kid on the swings lacks any sense of it being in the United Kingdom.

By the time I reached the end of the film there was a bad guy, a good guy and a cop on the side following along. There was a love interest and motivation for the good guy. The bad guy was interested in profit and there was a dramatic heist shoot out ending. But in the end it didn’t add up. In the end the film didn’t make sense. It wasn’t anything too complex. It’s that I don’t understand its existence. Sounds deep, I know.

As I watched it the movie felt odd. Like it wasn’t actually a movie. Known actors, recognizable characters and a general structure that is barely more than obvious. It just lacked any depth, like a school project. Like James Caan was doing a favour for his kid’s school.

The reason the movie has been hanging around in the back of my mind (I know, this one has been a bit of a slow burner), the reason I can’t get rid of it is it begs the question, what makes a movie? Even a bad movie is more than just a collection of necessary elements. There are intangible characteristics that combine together with the tangible ones to produce a valid movie experience. Even a bad one.

So, The Outsider, it was a strange experience, not exactly a movie experience and I wouldn’t recommend it.

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