My, my. Aren't we scary?
I’m pretty sure Adrian Brody can really only play one character, but he at least does so with aplomb, and thankfully this movie is interesting enough that his acting isn’t the lone highlight. I found this movie on a list titled (I think) "Top Ten Mind Fuck Movies." Indeed. So I went ahead and added it to our Netflix queue (among some others) as I had heard about it previously and had always been curious.
It’s hard to say much about the film, as giving away too much of the plotting will spoil some of the revelations that occur (which are, believe me, few and far between) as the film develops. Essentially, Brody plays an Iraq war (the first one, the movie isn't quite that prescient, though it did come out right about the time we were getting in over our heads a second time) vet who was shot in the head and lost his memory. Once he is home he is inadvertently swept up in a situation where he again suffers amnesia and is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. Being determined mentally unstable, he is sent to a rather ominous asylum where the head doctor (yes, both meanings of "head") begins an experimental treatment regime that is essentially drug addled sensory deprivation.
From here on out everything gets pretty wacky and let’s just say that there is some time travel involved and the matter of Brody trying to solve his own impending and untimely death. The movie actually does a pretty good job of reconciling the whole time travel paradox thing (mostly), though I will say that the ending is slightly confusing and not really explained very well. Answers? Not really, but I think they tie it up in a way that lets that be mostly okay.
Overall the movie is played off as rather dark and creepy, though I’m not actually sure why this decision was made. I think the content is certainly serious, and in many ways unnerving, but there is a very decided attempt to paint the movie as a horror film, both through art directing (see the cover image above), the score and the overall visual aesthetic of the filming. This isn’t a horror movie, it’s not even really scary, it’s more of a thinking piece that leaves you a little bewildered and incites contemplation over things like the choices we make and the paths our lives take and blah, blah, blah &c.
This is an interesting movie and certainly worth a look for anyone who likes a visual playground with a fairly subtle and interesting plot. Is it a mind fuck? I don’t think so, not really, not like some notable others (Donnie Darko comes to mind, despite the restraining order. One time, one
time, and they never
stop calling), but it is nice to escape the general drivel that suffuses most of Hollywood with something that appears to have some genuine thought behind it.
4 out of 5