Film Movement – Year 11 Film 7: Michiel ten Horn’s “The Deflowering of Eva Van End” Review and Trailer

968full-the-deflowering-of-eva-van-end-screenshottwo-stars1Impossible to see this and not compare it to the dysfunctional quirky indie film Little Miss Sunshine (2006), especially when considering the eponymous Eva, played by Vivian Dierickx, bares such a striking resemblance to her American doppelgänger, Abigail Breslin. However, whereas Sunshine‘s charm flourishes by maintaining a delicate balance of humor and drama amongst its oddly intrinsic and believable family circle, the final product of Deflowering comes across as a mere weed.

The story is about the van End family, and how their self aware attitudes become heightened upon their hosting of a seemingly perfect German exchange student, Veit. Unaware and self absorbed with their own lives, with Veit’s arrival slowly they become aware of each other’s odd behaviors.

Though fully capable with camera movement, editing, and framing, Michiel ten Horn‘s film suffers from an inadequately indecisive script. I use the word “indecisive” for the fact that the movie can’t seem to make up its mind on what it wants to be. If the characters are supposed to be cartoonish, then keep the film’s tonal reality cartoonish. If it’s supposed to be melodramatic and upsetting, then please make the characters and tone a tad more realistic.

Listen, I’m all for tonal changes in films, but not when it’s done so painfully bad. It’s almost like watching a Bugs Bunny cartoon where the last 10 minutes the format changes from a hand drawn comedy to a live action Deliverance scenario in where Elmer Fudd forcefully comes at Bugs from behind and makes him squeal like a pig. Okay, that example may be a bit extreme, but I think you get my point. It’s jarring.

Each character is written into his or her quirks with a one-dimensionality that makes them unable to feel real. Even when the upbeat indie infused music (see trailer below for ex.) is replaced with its darker toned opposite in a forced attempt at drastic character arcing via a slo-mo montage akin to the ‘Wise Up’ scene in Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Magnolia, or the ‘Head over Heels’ scene from Richard Kelly‘s Donnie Darko. When this music video portion of Deflowring arrives it brings with it a tonal shift that is too serious in nature to accompany all of the cartoonish behaviour of what we’ve been watching up to this point. Again, it’s jarring.

Ultimately, Michiel ten Horn shows great promise as a director. Now as far as screenwriting is concerned, maybe next time he should either do it all himself or find someone other than Anne Barnhoorn to collaborate with. Sorry, Anna, it’s just one person’s opinion. No hard feelings, okay.

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