2:37 (Murali K. Thalluri). 91 minutes. Opens Friday (May 18). For venues and times, see Movies, page 113. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
According to the notes, first-time director Murali K. Thalluri made 2:37 when he was all of 20, and contrary to what you might expect, he has a rather startling degree of formal control for such a young director. He's plainly working under certain influences: with his fondness for flowing Steadicam shots, you know he's seen Gus Van Sant's Elephant at least twice, but he's also a talented young director.
2:37 is a flashback/multiple POV story about a high school suicide. It's constructed as a kind of guessing game wherein we try to figure out which of the characters did the deed. The young Australian actors have some acting chops, and the screenplay has some wit, but Thalluri has no way of getting where he wants to go without cheating the narrative, so he does. Refreshingly ruthless, but it leaves the viewer going, "What? No way!"