But Kate Plays Christine is actually a much stranger film, an attempt
to portray something deep about empathy and performance. Director Robert Greene
weaves a subtle story that goes in and out of fiction and reality (we’re still
not sure which is which) to ask questions about image, human nature, and exploitation.
Kate Plays Christine is most interesting when it explores the slippery concept of ‘becoming’ someone else, dramatizing it with Kate’s attempt to put herself into Christine’s shoes – literally. Talking to a stylist about she should wear for the enactment of the climactic head-shot scene, Kate ends up contemplating Christine’s thought-process on the morning of her death – considering what she chose to look like knowing that thousands of people would be watching as she shot herself in the head.
But despite much of the content being thought-provoking, there are also many moments that unnecessarily distract from the film’s efforts. A lengthy sequence involving Kate swimming out to sea dressed as Christine quickly becomes tiresome, showing her attempts to retrieve a wig that keeps getting dislodged by the waves. It supposedly symbolizes Christine’s passion for water and Kate’s aversion to it, but it mostly looks like the latter is being hounded by a piece of seaweed.
There are also several static and long-winded scenes, soundtracked by slow ambient music, that seem to have been included only for the purpose of building atmosphere. The fact that Greene addresses the pomposity of these scenes doesn’t make their purpose any clearer. Even if it shows self-awareness, the pretentiousness is hardly lessened.
Inevitably, the film concludes with Kate ‘playing’ Christine’s final moments. There are multiple flash-forwards throughout that show Kate at the news desk surrounded by crew, applying make-up and exit wound prop, and through this – and the lack of real-life footage of Christine – Greene creates a certain level of tense expectation that isn’t quite met. The eventual ending is interesting, but doesn’t quite live up to level of suspense sustained by the rest of the film.
Kate Plays Christine is fascinating and, for the most part, visually stimulating with some truly gripping moments. But the over-use of ostentatious art-house stylistics mean that those moments feel a little too few and far between.
|What||Kate Plays Christine film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
14 Oct 16 – 14 Dec 16, Times vary
|Price||£determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here for more details|