Freeze Frame (2004)

Rating: C+

Dir: John Simpson
Star: Lee Evans, Sean McGinley, Ian McNeice, Rachael Sterling

The camera manSean Veil (Evans) lives his life entirely on-camera, ever since he was almost convicted of murder a decade ago – to prevent it happening again, he decided to prove his alibi by taping his every move. He lives in an underground bunker with cameras in every corner, when he goes out, it’s with another strapped to his body – each second of his existence is painstakingly documented in his archival vault. However, when a woman’s corpse turns up, the footage that could prove his innocence is missing. Who is out to frame him this time? The cop who arrested him ten years previously? The forensic psychologist whose career he started? The TV journalist? Or could the truth be even less palatable: is he guilty of murder, and just doesn’t remember?

If you’re used only to seeing Lee Evans as a zany loon, this may alter your view significantly; he’s almost unrecognisable as this paranoid recluse, and it’s a startling turn, both pitiable and creepy at the same time. The problem is mostly the script which drifts further off the rails the longer it goes, eventually succumbing to a series of convenient happenings which strain credulity to snapping point. You’ll know the moment the film has lost you: it’s when you step back and start thinking, “Hey, who pays for all his hi-tech gadgetry?” rather then being absorbed by the twists – some of which are, initially, quite clever. However, the change to skewer our surveillance-happy society is virtually ignored; instead, as things progress, this is more likely to provoke eye-rolling than shock or awe, and the end is particularly a mess. Given what’s gone before, and Evans’ fine performance, that’s a shame.