THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS (Bruce McDonald). 78 minutes. Opens Friday (November 2). Rating: NN
Wrapped in a shower curtain and huddled at the back of a bus like another bit of public transit trash, Ellen Page stares into the camera with frightened, angry eyes that dare you to look away.
Adapted from the novel by Maureen Medved, The Tracey Fragments stars Page as Tracey Berkowitz, a troubled 15-year-old who becomes lost herself while searching for her missing little brother. Her performance, so fragile and unselfconscious and raw, is hard to not to watch, even as director Bruce McDonald does everything he can to make you blink.
McDonald assaults you with shaky digital camera work and non-stop multiple split-screens. It's as though your computer screen has exploded into dozens of pop-up windows during a minor earthquake. Bits and pieces of story are shoved together onscreen simultaneously, overlapping each other, distracting from each other, pulling your attention in so many directions you just want to hit control-alt-delete.
If only. He hadn't taken. The. Film's title. So literally and just. Let. The camera. Linger on Page's Tracey, taking. More time to. Develop her story as a waifish lost soul. Dealing with. The brutality of high school. A first crush. Abusive parents and. A missing little brother.