Entropy


sleeping dog

The definition of entropy provided at the top of this film describes it as a degree of disorder or the degradation to disorder – in reality it’s a scientific term a lot more complex than this. In any case, the title is used to set up this story about a young music-video director, Jake Walsh (Stephen Dorff) whose life devolves into a stupid mess.

Directing techniques such as having Jake speak directly into the camera, fast motion photography of driving scenes to indicate passage of time and one long flashback are used to tell this less than compelling story.

Jake finally gets his big chance to direct a real motion picture because some unnamed Hollywood studio chairman (Hector Elizondo) likes his work. The proviso is: do it the way we (the studio) want it or you’re history, you’ll never work in this town again, etc., blah, blah, blah. So Jake takes a chance and goes to New York to make the “sexual thriller” they dump on him starring friends Claire (Lauren Holly) and Kevin (Jon Tenney). Keeping an eye on him at all times are Sal and Andy two low-class “producers” who insist that the film Jake is making is about nothing more than sex and violence. So right off the bat, Jake has some serious rethinking to do if he wants to stay in the business.

But that’s not what Entropy is about. We see very little of anything to do with the film-making other than him screaming on the phone occasionally or sitting in his director’s chair. It’s really about the model he meets named Stella (Judith Godreche) and how he tries to juggle his job with his relationship and how he screws it up royally when she gets pregnant.

The truth is, disorderly or not, Entropy just isn’t that interesting and the various visual techniques used by the director are simply superfluous. Dorff is not a very compelling lead, although Godreche is good as Stella. Just as Jake can’t fully commit to Stella, the director doesn’t fully commit to his story. It wavers too much between tame and lame humor and drama. It has inherently good dramatic elements that just aren’t taken that seriously so this becomes just a fluff movie with not a whole lot going for it. One exception is the cat that Stella presents to Jake early on. There’s a cute scene with the cat sliding down the shower curtain but I wouldn’t rent it just for that.

Lotta says Entropy is passable, but just.