Tuesday, November 3, 2015

In a World... (2013)

Director: Lake Bell
Writer:    Lake Bell
Cast:       Lake Bell, Fred Melamed, Michaela Watkins

An underachieving voice coach finds herself competing in the movie trailer voice-over profession with her father and his protege.  

The title of the film comes from the phrase that we hear at the start of many film trailers, especially the post-apocalyptic variety. The idea for the film came for Lake Bell when she noticed that all trailers feature male voice-overs except for 'Gone in 60 Seconds', which used Melissa Disney. She decided to write a story in which a female protagonist sought to overcome this prejudice. I am not a big fan of watching trailers since it is a trend in recent times to reveal too much and spoil the actual film. So it is a relief when you actually see a good one and the recent Mad Max: Fury Road trailer was one such example, using as an excuse to post a link to it.

In a World is essentially a feel-good comedy film and it is a genre which can always use niche settings to bring some freshness to it without appearing to be too cheesy. It is not to say that this film adheres firmly to the genre stereotypes at a core level. Most of the characters in it are connected to this voice-over business and the film really doesn't have any overly dramatic moments. Everything is done in a matter-of-fact way, which is always welcome, and the characters are sufficiently quirky and awkward. One might assume from the synopsis that it is trying to make a women's rights/feminist statement in an 'In Your Face' manner and that is not how it deals with it. Protagonist wants to do it just because  she is good at it and want to make a career out of it. When it is announced that she got the big gig in a newly launched franchise, it is a lady executive that is doing the announcement. When the protagonist gets a chance to thank her for giving her the gig, the executive flatly states that she got it not because she was the best candidate for the job but to make a statement to all the girls out there who are watching the trailer. That is just a very clever way of portraying 'contradictions' and debates surrounding the movement. 

In a World is a great watch. It is not just unique in terms of the background of its characters but also because of its non-conformity wrt the genre. Performances are all great and it is a great directorial debut for Lake Bell also considering the fact that she also played the principal protagonist. It was filmed over 20 days in LA and was very well-received at the Sundance Film Festival. It was also a financial success, grossing close to $3m on a less than million dollar budget. 

Rating: 4/5