Proxy is two hours of emotional and narrative withholding which combines preposterous thriller and horror movie tropes together into a flat, underwhelming experience. That flatness is almost certainly intentional (it’s hard to imagine any director getting such unemotive performances unintentionally), but it only served to disengage me from the proceedings, blunting the impact of a handful of theoretically-jarring narrative shifts.
Intellectually, it takes an interesting approach, tackling a screenplay whose obtuseness is intermittently interrupted by robust twists and gory violence by shrouding it in a deliberate veil of unknowing (if I wanted to sound snooty, I’d call it “Brechtian”). But interesting doesn’t equate to good, and here the execution is so lacking in artistry – all boring, symmetrical compositions scored by a “symphonic orchestra” with strings straight out of the two dollar shop – that I found it impossible to engage emotionally or intellectually with the events on-screen. It doesn’t help matters that the subtexts Proxy wades through – disassociation from one’s child and an obsession with perception that borders on megalomania – have been covered more successfully (and conventionally) by its genre neighbours.
I won’t dismiss Proxy unreservedly – hey, notoriously hard-to-please Mike D’Angelo loved it – but if it’s a love-it-or-hate-it film, I’m the latter.