Friday, August 29, 2014

Review of As Above, So Below

ARAMAIC WATCH: ‘As Above, So Below’ Review: Deserves a Swift Burial (Dan Callahan, The Wrap). Excerpt:
Director John Erick Dowdle and cinematographer Léo Hinstin keep their handheld camera style shaky, rattling and rolling throughout, even though most of the movie is supposed to be footage shot by hapless documentary filmmaker Benji (Edwin Hodge), who is following dishy Scarlett (Perdita Weeks) around as she goes on a dizzy quest to find the mythical philosopher's stone, an alchemical substance that turns metal into gold and also gives its owner immortality.

“I am fluent in four spoken languages and two dead ones,” chirps the enthusiastic Scarlett, who speaks in plummy British tones that mask her heartbreak over her alchemist father's suicide. She doesn't speak Aramaic, however, though she assures Benji that she “knows a guy who does”: George, played by Ben Feldman, just as neurotic here as he is playing paranoid copy writer Ginsberg on “Mad Men.”

Though Scarlett once got them both stuck in a Turkish prison for a week, George is quietly smitten with her, so much so that he thinks nothing of breaking into a museum for her so that she can take down an ancient tablet, rub the back with ammonia cleanser, and light it on fire to see if it might reveal where the stone might be hidden. The tablet back tells her that the stone could be down somewhere in the Paris catacombs, a tunnel network underneath the city that houses the bones of six million bodies.
She just wants him for his Aramaic.