The characters are flat, apathetic, and boring. It's a wonder they would be attracted to one another; with two characters so boring you'd think all they would want to do is sit there and drink weak tea and stare out a rainy window. The 'spirited conversations' on whether love is a result of chemicals are neither spirited and rarely actually conversations; more like it's mentioned in passing.
I can't say enough bad things about this movie. It dragged on and on and I didn't give a crap one way or another if they got together in the end. Well, I suppose I kind of did, because as soon as they got together, I knew the movie would end.
This was one of those movies that tried to be intellectual and deep by making a love story with an intellectual plot device; however, what is touted as a big part of the story is really not made all that important. There are several scenes where it is addressed, but it's addressed superficially.
In conclusion? Fuck this shit!
in other news, i got a haircut and the USA women's basketball team won the gold. australia got silver.
There are gonna be people - the "anything if it's INDIE!" crowd - who will disagree with me on this. Which is fine. Look, [i]even though [/i]most Hollywood films are indeed pretty shallow and appeal strictly to Joe Six-Pack and [i]even though [/i]independent films are a worthy and artistic way to use film... [i]Just because [/i]it's an independent film, that doesn't make it "good".
This film absolutely falls into that category. It tries to be smarter than it is and comes across sounding more like the endless quasi-intellectual banter my friend James and I used to engage in in pretentious coffee houses when we were in high school than an actual intelligent, cohesive story. The pacing is slow and tedious and I found it hard to care about the characters or this problems. And ironically enough, even though this film tries it's best to "out-indie" itself, the actual storyline is as formulaic as can be.
If you want to see a film about intellectual types falling in love and discussing it "within the confines of society's artifical construct of serial monogomy", I'd prefer that you watched [i]The Shape of Things[/i]. It's not [b][i]that [/i][/b]much better, but it's more watchable and has Rachel Weisz in it to boot.
This is an extremely well-made film regarding the chemical reactions that are "love." [i]Dopamine [/i]is natural in its philosophy and intruiging in its characterization. It played the Sundance Film Festival last year to an enthusiastic crowd, but its DVD transfer is less emotional and involving as it presumably was in a theater. But still a fine effort.
[b]Me[/b]: Umm, can I have some dopamine?
[b]Pharmacist[/b]: (confused look)...
[list][*]It was a tough decision to rate it a six. I was considering giving it a seven, but I had to be objective.[*]Conventional like most romantic comedy type movies, though this one has some intelligence to it and it was still enjoyable.[*]It makes you think a little about love: is it just a chemical reaction?[*]The lead guy (John Livingston) is a pretty decent actor though not great. To some it may seem like he's not a great actor, but I think it is just part of his character.[*]The lead lady is better (Sabrina Lloyd -- I think she was on the show Sliders) and she is very cute. Don't worry... that didn't affect my rating of the movie.[*][b]Recommendation[/b]: In the mood for some chemistry? Like that squishy feeling in your stomach? Awww, the butterflies won't stop fluttering...[*][b]Grade[/b]: 79.95% C++[/list]
Director and co-writer Mark Decena makes a promising debut with a love story that explores whether love is an actual human emotion or simply a physiological response to the release of chemicals designed to prompt mating. It is an interesting premise and a great catalyst for conflict as a relationship develops between our lead characters.
Rand (John Livingston) is a computer programmer, coping with his mother?s Alzheimer?s and subscribing to the theory (under his father?s influence) that love is a chemically induced illusion. Sarah (Sabrina Lloyd) is a grade school teacher with ?holes to fill?, tormented by a decision made years before and looking for a love to fill the void. The two initially cross paths in a bar (where Rand?s best friend steamrolls him and ends up taking Sarah home himself), but it is not until Rand is asked to test his artificially intelligent computer creation in her classroom that these two begin to make a connection. As their relationship develops, Rand begins to realize that love is not an artificial emotion and opens himself up to new depths of emotion as he comes to terms with his mother?s illness and Sarah?s desire to right her past.
Although Decena approaches his story from a unique perspective, Dopamine still feels formulaic much of the time. There are few surprises as the plot follows the standard ?boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, conflict separates boy and girl, boy and girl resolve conflict and live happily ever after? formula. And, the film drags just a bit, at times getting bogged down in its own sense of importance.
Weaknesses in the plot and pacing are overcome, however, in the performances of Livingston and Lloyd. Livingston very much reminded me of Ben Affleck, but with more talent. Rand is a character that is instantly likeable, in spite of his cynicism. He is jaded when it comes to love, but not to the point that it turns him into a womanizing jerk (that role belongs to Bruno Campos in the role of best friend, Winston). It is obvious from the get-go that Sarah is damaged goods - desperate for something pleasurable to replace the pain. However, Lloyd injects a sense of strength into her character, which allows us to empathize with Sarah without ever pitying her. Livingston and Lloyd share a wonderful chemistry on-screen and they handle their dialogue so easily and convincingly that you overlook the fact that it is frequently convoluted.
Dopamine is presented on DVD in 1.85:1 widescreen and 2.0 Dolby Digital stereo. Extras include a handful of deleted scenes, optional commentary by director Decena, co-writer Timothy Breitbach, and Lloyd, a brief ? and mostly uninteresting ? making-of featurette, the original movie trailer, a very brief introduction to the film by Decena, and a Decena short-film entitled ?One Of Those Days? an artsy, subtitled, black and white piece that made little sense to me.
Overall, this film is a mixed bag. While the writing and pacing are a bit weak, Decena proves he?s a director to watch and he elicits wonderful performances from Livingston and Lloyd. Although it doesn?t deliver the same pleasurable punch as its chemical namesake, Dopamine is a gratifying, albeit predictable, film.