Review: The Brass Teapot / Cert: TBC / Director: Ramaa Mosley / Screenplay: Tim Macy / Starring: Alexis Bledel, Juno Temple, Alia Shawkat, Michael Angarano / UK Release Date: August 5th
Director Ramaa Mosley presents a comedy commenting on consumerism, the recession and shifting values all wrapped up in a style aiming for the magic of Spielberg or Dante’s films where fantasy plays out in an everyday American setting. There is an absolute ‘80s feel to the proceedings throughout with eastern mythology, obligatory montage scene and a Back to the Future influenced bully. Based on a short story by Tim Macy (which is soon to be released as an online comic book) it tells a modern, mystical fairy-tale of the challenges faced by the current generation.
Alice (Temple) and John (Angarano) are a poor young couple who discover a magic teapot that dispenses cash whenever they feel pain. Mosley paints a bloody and occasionally darkly funny look at the lengths the couple will go to for money. Starting off with some toe stubbing the couple engage in hand hammering, dentist visits without the anaesthetic and body modification until they discover the teapot works just as well when they hurt one another’s feelings. Earning cash off pain proves to be fruitful allowing them to move into a new neighbourhood and become the very thing they despise. Mosley references Lord of the Rings through the geeky, good hearted John and as the mystical money giving teapot possesses the couples soul and forces them to commit horrible acts against others for their precious it is clear their journey will be a long struggle to do the right thing.
Mosely has a background in making music videos and a little of this has rubbed off in her debut with a party scene that is merely there to show off past skills and some slow motion dance moves that look cool but feel out of place. Temple is wonderful in her transformation from ambitious, caring wife to bitter entitled bitch. Angarano plays the doting and torn husband role well and he gets some funny one liners. The 2000 years of history encapsulated in the teapot along with the ever changing rules it presents to the couple allow it to become a dark, interesting character in itself.
A promising debut that suffers from a weird tone; though it goes to dark places it feels a little too light-hearted at times considering the themes it is tackling. It’s accessible and though its message is clear it feels a little oversimplified for the more discerning viewer. Though Mosley never reaches the same greatness as those directors she is emulating the heart of the film is in the right place and is a fun addition to the fantasy film genre.
Expected Rating: 8 out of 10