After seeing the list of superlatives and awards on the DVD cover, I figured that this would be a pretty safe watch. In order to keep from spoiling my enjoyment of movies, I often try to walk into them without knowing much of anything (which seems to frustrate other people sometimes when they ask what I'm watching); so, when I started watching this movie, I figured it was probably about vampires or zombies or something. Wow, was I totally wrong! It's actually more of a tragedy about mental illness than anything else, though it's also got some surrealist and absurdist elements. That might put off some people. As a huge fan of David Lynch, I recognized that the surreal scenes were kind of homages/ripoffs of his work, but, really, it didn't bother me nearly as much as it apparently did some other Lynch fans (and, of course, surrealism will always have its detractors, calling it pretentious or stupid). In particular, one dream sequence, where a character has a strange, symbolism-laden conversation with a nightmare version of Zippy the Pinhead, reminded me VERY strongly of Lost Highway. I'm sure fellow Lynch fans know the scene that I'm talking about ("That's f***ing crazy, man."). Regardless, I liked the scene, and I thought it was done well. It's always nice to see people being influenced by Lynch, even if they're taking the influence a *bit* too far, into territory that might involve lawyers, if it were a different form of media.Moving on...The acting was stellar. I totally bought each and every character. The directing was a bit, shall we say, stylistic. I suppose it might not be everyone's cup of tea. Again, while it was slightly derivative of the style of other directors (someone is apparently a Darren Aronofsky fanboy), I liked it. The plot was told from a combination Memento and Repulsion viewpoint, mixing the out-of-order scenes of Memento with the unreliable narrator from Repulsion. In fact, the whole movie seems to take some major hints from Repulsion, while not being nearly so much of a outright homage; instead, individual scenes and the overall theme remind me of that movie.So, what are we left with? A rather strange potpourri of Lynch, Aronofsky, Polanksi, Nolan, and perhaps even a bit of Kubrick thrown in. Does it work? Yes. Is it highly derivative of other directors? Yes. Are there strange plot holes, that are never really explained (why is there only one phone in such a huge house, and why doesn't the wife have a cell phone? Why did the father leave before the arrival of the nurse? Why did... and so on)? Oh, yes, definitely. Perhaps you'll be able to forgive all these issues. Perhaps not. If you can, then I think you'll like this movie. It's powerful and intriguing.If the director can make a movie that is more original, in his own style, and work on reducing the number of bizarre plot holes that make no sense, I will become a fan. He could really have a strong future.
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