The Tracey Fragments

This movie is pretentious as all get out. The only thing it was able to force me to emote was anger. If that was the intent, well done director Bruce McDonald (Queer as Folk), you made me furious. Seriously, there’s nothing redemptive in this artsy-for-sake-of-being-artsy bullshit.

The Tracey Fragments is filmed all ‘stream of consciousness’ with the screen constantly showing between one and 20 (by my count, at least) different views of the same, or sometimes different thing.  It’s like McDonald saw an episode of 24 and thought, ‘if splitting the screen three ways is awesome, twenty five ways will be soooooo bitchin’!’  In case you were wondering, it’s not.  It’s annoying, confusing, and when it’s at its best, you just feel like you’re watching a bunch of security monitors.

Tracey follows the protagonist Tracey, the ‘normal fifteen year old girl, who hates herself’ as she travels around the city, looking for her younger brother who disappeared on her watch.  In her wandering, the film vaguely references domestic abuse, drug use, murder, prostitution, molestation, and rape, but doesn’t really have the balls to make a statement or even to actually have it happen in the movie!  Since it’s stream of consciousness, we don’t know what is really happening, and what is in her head.  I personally hope that Tracey’s transvestite (or transgendered, I’m not sure) therapist really happened, because that was one manish looking woman.

Remember the aggravating, barely audible voice-overs from Terrance Malick’s The New World?  McDonald took that concept and multiplied it by 20 as well.  Sometimes there’s five or six people muttering inaudible nonsense.  And when you can hear it clearly, it waxes all pseudo-philosophical about the circle of life and how horses die, turn into glue that kids eat, so the horse eventually becomes human, and frustrating bullshit like that.  The only vaguely non-annoying trait of this whole things was Ellen Page’s fantastic acting.  She really is brilliant.

It’s not that I’m against anything that’s off the beaten path.  I don’t expect a linear, orthodox narrative, I even kind of liked Aronofsky’s completely un-understandable The Fountain, because it had it’s interesting moments.  I mean come on, the Tree of Life sprouts out of Hugh Jackman’s stomach on the top of a Mayan pyramid in the end.  But Tracey provides us with nothing interesting, nothing new to say, and leaves you feeling angry you watched it.

½☆☆☆

Rottentomatoes: 40%Cream of the Crop: 56%

Rated R for strong language throughout, some sexual content and violence.

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