Nearly seventy years ago, Alfred Hitchcock film his famously experimental film "Rope" with Jimmy Stewart and Farley Granger. The film was set in real time and shot using only a few very long, continuous shots that required the actors to spot lines and lines of dialogue at a time. It is said that the actors hated it.


The film won no accolades - with even Hitchcock declaring that it was a mistake - and actually disappeared for many years before being revived 30-years later by the great director's daughter. It was never noted for anything more than a technical stunt, quite possibly to save money because it was Hitchcock's first color film. It barely made a profit over the $2-million production cost...and that was mainly in recent video rentals!


Director Thane Economou is no Hitchcock having spent most of his career directing movie shorts. Nevertheless, he felt compelled to try his own continuous take film with "The Wedding Party".

Unlike Hitchcock, Economou didn't have a James Stewart to rely on for acting, instead he cast a bunch of b-list castaways and charged them with the task of not messing up. Why, because the film was recorded, also in real time using one loooooong shot.


So, much like "Rope", the emphasis is more on the technique than the story, which is a run or the mill story about a common wedding and the things that went wrong. The film opens at the ceremony with the idiot best man Colt (Brian Thomas Smith) getting the wedding ring stuck on his finger.


It then progresses around the ceremony to the reception immediately following with an interesting method of changing scenes, as it were. Perhaps the greatest challenge was making sure the majority of the talent hit their spots by the constantly moving camera - helmed by William Kamp III - got around to them. But his use of mostly wide angle shots reduces any moment of intimacy into set-ups for the next shot.


There is a feeble attempt to develop the various characters by creating romantic relationships and generic discovery moments between members of the wedding party, but truly the only semi interesting character was Brett Rice as Tobias - basically looking stoic and bored.


For Economou, perhaps he'll be using the film as a demo to show what he could possibly do if he had a bigger budget and a real screenplay.


"The Wedding Party" comes off advanced film school senior project. It is interesting in technique but dull and one dimensional in story; the professor would probably give him a C+. [VOD,DVD]   -- GEOFF BURTON