Saturday, August 6, 2011

Downloading Nancy (2008) - 3 of 3: Internet Death Fetish Trilogy

At wits end

When the printing press was invented it spread media quicker and farther than ever before. Fast forward to the information age where written documents as well as ways of communicating went digital from the invention of the computer and then a way to connect them to others: The Internet. Writing letters turned into e-mails and inked articles went way of text on a blog. This story uses the modern way of communicating and connecting to others but as an outlet for darker reasons rather than opportunity or forward outlooks. And what makes this tale so haunting is that is was inspired by real events with some cinematic liberties altered from a 1996 case about a woman named Sharon Lopatka who went by the name of Nancy over the computer.

"Downloading Nancy" is about a down-on-this-world woman, played by Maria Bello, who searches for someone on the Internet that would take her life as she's tried herself with scars to show for it. Not to mention going to therapy sessions to resolve her long list of deep-rooted issues without any substantial luck. She's married and unable to have kids due to being abused and suffering physical pain as a little girl. Her husband Albert, played by Rufus Sewell, doesn't understand her need for infliction during intercourse, and after 15 years of marriage is fed up with her immature and selfish ways of dealing with problems. He has golf and other hobbies to keep himself distracted, not to mention they sleep next to each other, yet are worlds apart. Nancy finds her guy, or so he says, and takes off with only a nondescript note left over to her husband. The newly met man from online seems the perfect match to give her the rough stimulation she feels she needs. Nancy has her highs and lows, from emotional to withdrawn, giving a torn decision to the man who's now infatuated with her.

Slow, serious, subtle, "Downloading Nancy" builds up by showing rather than telling how this woman got to the desperate, manic, end-all state she's at. There are loose, hand-held camera shots that put you there. Sometimes hiding behind something to give the point of view of witnessing and experiencing it first hand. The settings are dulled with drab colors and neutral furniture to give an oppressive tone without overdoing it and trying to be creepy. Maria Bello does an excellent job of playing a pessimistic woman with more than one troubling issue to contend with. Her impulsive ways make her unpredictable and unlikable, though there is a feeling of pity as she can't even help herself.

This doesn't have the typical amount of hope or resolve that you see in Hollywood pictures, but it's filled with real feelings of emotion that radiate from the screen. The film doesn't have any good guys or bad guys, and it isn't a horror tale as it won't happen to you due to both individuals being willing participants. It just unfolds this strange tale of how the Internet brought these two together, who would have otherwise never met as they're several states over. Though Nancy had stacking problems that were becoming too much to handle, and this was her way of finding an answer to solve it all by including this man to take charge of her life without question. The amount of blind trust she put into him might say more about herself than him. (If you missed 'em see my profile and click chronological for first review "Grimm Love" or the second "Cannibal.")

Rating: 9/10

Stars: Maria Bello, Rufus Sewell, Jason Patric, Michael Nyqvist
Links: IMDB Real life story

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