Five Day Shelter
The festival programme synopsis describes the film as ‘a unique, serious drama revealing the poetry of the everyday’. Seriously dramatic it was, revealing or poetic it was not.
A dreary muddle of well intentioned themes and half-baked observations, searches in vain for an original insight into ordinary everyday living. Leonard’s film provokes only frustrating confusion and reveals nothing other than a disappointing and narrow-minded sensibility.
Enjoyment of the story is undermined by the effort required to follow it, and so is inevitably lost in the telling. The characters are neatly drawn as the performances which portray them are assured. And yet they fail to connect, as the disjointed narrative isolates the characters from the story they tell, so that we quickly lose interest in them.
As the running time wore on, I began to wonder if the film would offer any shelter from its harsh fantasy. Or if the characters would leave me resigned to my own disappointment, without kindly offering hope for inspired meaning, or even mild entertainment to put me out of their misery.
The title of the film is taken from a scene in which the camera pans around an animal shelter, where ownerless dogs wait hopefully for new owners. A sign on the wall says: ‘Five day shelter before they are put down’ I wish someone had put me to sleep during Five Day Shelter.
At first glance, on paper, a nice idea for a story, with a refreshing theme that might have been a contemplative take on the mundane, if it had managed to be lesswell, mundane. Ultimately had me contemplating my watch.
Opium for the masochists.