Paradox Lake

“Paradox Lake” combines the “it’s real, so it doesn’t have to be interesting” attitude of bad documentaries with the oversimplified plots and stock characters of bad fiction. It’s the worst of both worlds, together in one stupefyingly dull and pretentious movie.

It is a curious blend of reality and fiction, as the main character (who is not real) goes to work at a summer camp for autistic kids (who are). There he encounters generic problems like a counselor who’s hard to get along with, and a female counselor on whom he develops a crush. He gets attached to some of the kids. There is a late-breaking plot point that would probably touch us, if we cared at all about the protagonist.

Where director Przemyslaw Shemie Reut goes wrong is not just in refusing to buy some vowels for his name, but in assuming because these are ACTUAL AUTISTIC KIDS, that we will automatically be interested. This simply is not so. Movies need characters, not objects of sympathy. The blend of fact and fiction is uncomfortable; everyone seems like they’re being themselves when they’re acting, and like they’re acting when they’re being themselves.

A good movie about autism needs to be made. This is not it. This is a trainwreck.

F (; PG, thematic material.)