SXSW Film Reviews

One of the central conceits of A House on a Hill is that the building is not as important as the work put into it, and that idea seems to have bled into the film itself.

A House on a Hill

D: Chuck Workman; with Philip Baker Hall, Laura San Giacomo, Shirley Knight. (Video, 90 min)

One of the central conceits of A House on a Hill is that the building is not as important as the work put into it, and that idea seems to have bled into the film itself. Starring pros like Hall and Knight, House is an artistically bold experiment using the geometry and architecture of the screen image to symbolize character psychology, but the movie never overcomes its shaky foundation. Hall is an elderly architect looking for redemption by rebuilding a house he once occupied, and San Giacomo is a documentarian filming the endeavor. House on a Hill constantly changes shape, employing a stream-of-consciousness technique that occasionally works to convey Hall's fragmented state of mind. But often the aesthetics seem to be irrelevant and distracting (if nifty) tricks used to excite an overly cerebral narrative, and sloppy editing only drains these performances. With its ever-complicated images, House is like a puzzle whose pieces just don't fit together. (Paramount, 3/17, 4pm)

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

sxsw film, A House on a Hill, Chuck Workman

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