The Tracey Fragments **
Directed by Bruce McDonald
"The Tracey Fragments's is getting talked about a lot because of its unique technical work. It is done mostly with split screen. When I read this I thought that it would be more like "Conversations with Other Women," which ends up showing the whole film from two different perspectives. But beneath the interesting way it is editing and shot, and under the terrific performance by Ellen Page, "The Tracey Fragments" is nothing more than a typical teenage runaway story-screwed up life, delusional ideas of grandeur, and black makeup. And not only that, but at times this strong editing work seemed to get in the way, and I was annoyed by the way it shot even though it was intriguing, and a lot of effort clearly went into it.
Ellen Page was great in "Hard Candy," and even though I haven't been lucky to see "Juno," everybody that I've discussed it with really loved it. Here she plays Tracey, who has ran away from home and is riding on the back of a bus covered in a flowered shower curtain. She is on the lookout for her brother Sonny, who she ended up hypnotizing into thinking that he is a dog. We see flashbacks to her past life before running away-her screwed up family, her getting picked on at school, and of course having a boyfriend that is as screwed up as she is. But then we begin to question what is real, and what is just a part of her mind.
Like I said, the runaway element is quite standard. There is nothing in Tracey that is any different from other teen runaways, and I think that is why Bruce McDonald (who got a huge round of applause from the crowd, but I have never seen any of his other films) used this special advanced editing-which is supposed to represent the many fragments and split layer of Tracey's tortured mind. At times it got overbearing, and I just couldn't take it anymore. Its odd because I see the strong originality behind the technical potions of the movie, but without the editing-which I've sure the screenplay did not have notes about-this would not be getting the same buzz that it has been getting. It is a neat idea, and McDonald did a good job saving this from being a total loss, but its too obviously a dramatic device to try to cover the rather lame story.