Site Specific: Las Vegas 05

Site Specific Las Vegas 05

Site Specific: Las Vegas 05 is a ten minute or so short film consisting of shots from high in the air (presumably from a helicopter) of Las Vegas. It starts with a few shots of the surrounding countryside, then the Hoover dam area, then Las Vegas–mostly the Strip–by day, and finally Las Vegas by night.

There is no dialogue or narration of any kind.

I thought it was somewhat interesting, just because the visuals are so atypical. You never see Strip hotels and parking lots and such from that perspective. So, it benefits from the novelty factor.

At times it definitely put me in mind of the cliché about people looking like bugs from high up in the sky. Like out in the country there’d be a single vehicle moving along, and I’d have to look closely because I thought they might be trying to trick the viewer by working in shots of a bug or rodent or something scurrying across the sand. Or on some of the shots it feels like at any moment they might pull back and you’ll see it’s all some sort of scale model sitting on a table.

The film is marred by the fact that the focus is routinely off. I don’t know if that is just because that’s inevitable when you’re shooting from a moving helicopter (I doubt it; it seems like shots from the sky usually are in focus) or more likely it’s some sort of artistic choice. Very likely the latter.

It also is longer than it needs to be, at least for me. It is kind of curious as a novelty, but I didn’t particularly need ten minutes of it. (I suspect it would be a lot more impressive on a big screen in a theater, though the focus issue would still be there.)

The biggest mystery to me about the film is that it was introduced by the lead-in on Sundance as “controversial.” So I guess the film is trying to “say something” about the culture of Las Vegas or something, but whatever that was obviously went over my head.

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