...engaging and discerning culture, as a way of life...

October 30, 2006

The Prestige - 7

I loved this film. Maybe it is because it was directed by Christopher Nolan (In my opinion he has yet to make a bad film). The film tells you upfront that the plot is going to have three parts, just like a magic trick. (1) The promise, where the magician tells everyone that the world is ordinary and simple. (2) The turn, where the magician shows the audience something out of the ordinary or does something that seems impossible. And finally, (3) the prestige, where the magician sets things back to normal, or makes that which disappeared reappear. If you are one of those moviegoers that must figure out twists in the plot and must know the answer before you are told, you may have fun trying to figure it out (of you may critique it for being manipulative as M. Night Shyamalan has been accused of). But if you hold the film up to “just” that standard, you will miss out on a much deeper truth.
The plot of the film sets up two apprentice magicians (Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman) up against each other as the go there separate ways to make their own shows in London. As they try to out do each other, they guard their secrets, and the competition gets intense and violent. The key to the film is the discussion of the role of magic and illusion. The film cannot help making one reflect on how awe and wonder work when humans think about the fact that reality does not always conform to the way we think it should work. The question you have to ask yourself: Is it part of the human condition to want to be fooled? Once we know the secret, it looses its power; maybe it is better to remain a mystery. Avoid the shallow, and listen closely for the deeper truth.

October 29, 2006

Thank You for Smoking - 7

If you are avoiding this film because it is about smoking, then you are out of luck. Not one person lights up a cigarette in the whole picture. While the film's main character is a lobbyist for the Tobacco companies, the central idea of the film is sophistry. The film is a story of spin; how to say things in a way that is persuasive by putting your point in the best light, while helping the other person think that they are wrong. Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) is the PR man for a research institute funded by Tobacco attempting to claim that smoking is not hazardous and should be the past time of everyone(hey its just good for business). William H. Macy is great as an incompetent Senator, and Rob Lowe nails the part as a Hollywood studio bigwig. This film is full of satire and hyperbole as it pursues this line of thought. In counter-point to this, is Naylor's responsibility for his son, who is living with his mother and step father. He is trying to teach his son about the spin that is put on all of life, and how uncritical most people are in trying to figure out the truth. The key point is that you can't make people want to choose for themselves, they have to come to it themselves. This film does a good job of showing the hilarity and often backwardness of our culture to truly engage in conversation that matters. Rather we spin and counter-spin our opinions which can make us numb to the info glut that bombards us. The value of this film is that you can't help but start thinking, and critical conversations are bound to ensue.

Raiders of the Lost Ark - 7

I was on the ride for this at Disneyland about 10 years ago, but have only now seen the film. A while it is a genre film (read Jason's defense of genre), it is a great use of the action/adventure prototype to tell an interesting story. This film is also a collaboration between George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. It shows. They realize that film's greatest feature is its ability to catch light. They use this in spectacular fashion and it actually makes the film better. The interplay of light and shadow is evident in most every shot. The story works too becuase one can suspend disbelief long enough to cheer on Indiana as he takes down the Nazi's single-handedly and gets the girl. A fun and entertaining film.

October 26, 2006

The Birth of a Nation - 7

50 years after the Civil War, D.W. Griffith commemorates in this film about reconstruction in the South following the war. If you have three hours, this is a great history lesson. It was an amazing lesson in filmmaking for me. In 1915, there is not audio, beside the classical music that scores the film. And obviously no color film, although this film uses creative use of filters and film- black and white for outdoors, sepia for indoors, and a red filter to signify night. The film uses text shots to give the view the story and some of the dialogue between the characters. This means that the actors have to move the story along with there bodies (which they do quite well, sometime to comedic effect- the emotions come through the screen for some of the actors/actress'. This made me realize even more the genius of Charlie Chaplin, who didn't need dialogue to tell a story). The narrative covers some of the battles of the war, Lee's surrender to Grant, Abraham Lincoln's assassination, and the rise of the Klu Klux Klan. It uses two families, one from the North, the other from the South, to show how their conflicting views play out as the country tries to go through this huge transition. While the film uses warnings (it uses the argument that seeing it on screen will help the audience understand the tragedy of war and do better) to try to speak against war, racism, and violence, its naivete was proved by the further uprising of the KKK and what turned out to be one of the bloodiest centuries. This film is must see for the serious film critic (I'm not quite there yet), it uses some very prime camera techniques that have been further developed, but it had little before it to use, it had to sort of invent techniques. We've come along way (there are homemade videos on YouTube that are more technically advanced, now if we could concert our efforts on a good story). The film makes an interesting case about the history that shaped America most, it is an acute picture.

October 25, 2006

Peter Bradley Adams

Earlier this year I went to see Garrison Starr at Club Cafe. The opener was the unexpected surprise. Peter Bradley Adams was half of the band eastmountainsouth (their arrangement of Hard Times was featured on the soundtrack to Crowe's Elizabethtown), he has now ventured out on his own with the album Gather Up. This album was produced in his living room with the help of Alexi Murdoch (read about Keith's fandom of Alexi here). It is a great combination of Americana and classical influence sounds, soon to be on a TV show near- or at least they should be (from 1995 to 2001 Peter had a job writing music to be used in film). The background vocals are beautiful.
Here are the lyrics to Little Stranger and here is the story behind it. All the lyrics are thoughtful.

There's a love he cannot hide
though he waits in the line to fight
so he looks up to welcome you, his child
little stranger girl, you are home tonight

he reaches out a thousand miles
an sends his voice to where you lie
and in your dreams he carries you, his child
little stranger girl, you are home tonight

when you have grown, you may ask why
and you will read these words he writes
and they will say, I thank you, my child,
little stranger girl, you are home tonight

October 24, 2006

Reds - 5

This won the Oscar in 1981 for director Warren Beatty. This film is in the epic tradition, almost Doctor Zhivago like. It follows a couple (as in John Reed and Louise Bryant in love- played by Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton) of American as they fall deeper and deeper in love, as they also fall deeper and deeper into the Russia and the socialist movement in America. The film is a three hour discussion of the socialist movement as seen by Americans from 1915-1920. The best part of the film is the last section in which Reed and Emma Goldman (Maureen Stapleton won supporting actress Oscar for this) discuss the consequences of ideas, and Reed realizes that love has a subordinate and lost place in the ideologies of politics. If the film were just this, I would be tempted to give it a higher ranking. The resolution of the love story is also done well. While the second part was a redeeming quality, I think the length of the film takes away from the story- the fact remains that it could easily be told in less. The film is also broken up by actual interviews with older people who were alive at the time. Jack Nicholson and Gene Hackman make appearances in the film as well. The trivia on Wikipedia is interesting and funny.

October 23, 2006

Jesus Camp - 6

This film, for everyone who has no idea this film is even out there (apparently very indie), is a documentary about Becky Fischer (read a lot more about the film here) and her children's ministry. Fischer is a Pentecostal Evangelical, who wants to train children to change the world for Christ. The film was made by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (The Boys of Baraka). The film highlights the beliefs that these kids are being raised into, which is a Christianity that is full of conviction. Conviction that the world is full of brokenness and sin, and in need of the saving work of Jesus. Most of the adults in the film interpret this to mean some form of political action, for example- protesting abortion, praying and blessing President Bush (who is an Evangelical Christian), and rejecting the influence of culture- like Harry Potter, Britney Spears, and the teaching of evolution. The film has the ability to incite a visceral response. But right at the moment you are outraged, disturbed, and offended, you realize that you are in the same boat as the people in the film. In this sense, the film is a very human one. The question of how to teach children or anyone for that matter, raises questions of epistemology that cannot be determined in an initial gut feeling. One could ask the question: Is there any education that is not manipulation or coercion? And how would one recognize it? I think these kids are being somewhat manipulated, but then again my own view is one where the means are not inherently different, rather it is the ends. That may end up changing the whole picture. One thing I think the film could have been better at was filming the questions asked of the people talking to the camera (I am not sure when this is the case or not, but some of the responses seemed to be initiated by the filmmakers questions and responses). There assumption is that the characters tell the story by showing up and saying what they say, but the story is built in part by the editing, which is done by the directors. According to the site, everyone in the film thought they were honestly portrayed (with the exception of Ted Haggard). Here is a response to the film by Ted Haggard who is in the film briefly, and seems to be the only one in the film that disliked it (He claims it is leftist, and anti-evangelical). Here is a response to this by the filmmakers. Worth reading to continue the dialogue and questions this film raises about Christianity and contemporary culture. A thought provoking film.

The Proposition - 7

This is a 'western' written by Nick Cave. The film takes place in Cave's native Australia, but uses a lot of elements from the traditional Hollywood western for its story and plot development. The basic story is about a gang of bandit brothers, who the lawmen would like to see dead. In an attempt to bring justice a local sheriff gives the middle brother, Charlie (Guy Pearce), the ultimatum of killing his older brother to save his younger one. The brothers live as bandits outside of the town, and the story becomes a way of showing the stark differences between "civilized" life in the town, and the brutal chaos of the outback lands. The question becomes: do humans tame nature, or does nature tame humanity? The final confrontation in the most obvious example where the sheriff and his wife are having a Christmas dinner, when the brothers burst in. The film focuses on Charlie who is on the search for redemption. A word about watching this film, there is a good amount of blood and killing, if you have somewhat of a weak stomach for this, it might be hard to watch. Read Evan's good review here.

October 20, 2006

Winter Pays for Summer

I just got Glen Phillip's 2005 album Winter Pays for Summer. The best music I have listened to in a while. It has both slower acoustic songs with sort of a country feel, as well as upbeat rock songs, just listen. He has a more recent album, but this one will get me through the end of the year, at least. Guess I'll add that to the Christmas list.


At the start of the conversation
I didn't have much to say
I was looking for some inspiration
You just got in my way
Took a shot at an easy target
You were too stunned to say anything
You were the unsuspecting martyr
You were not the most dangerous game

Bring my courage back now
Bring it back to me
Tired of being afraid of what I can't change
And I want to be living free
I don't want to be a prisoner
I want to live free

Well it could be I was mistaken
Could be that I deceived myself
But it's hard to understand somebody
Who doesn't want to understand himself
There's an ocean of unlatched windows
And a world of unlocked homes
The only reason anybody still feels safe
Is most people still knock on the door

Bring my courage back now
Bring it back to me
Tired of being afraid of what I can't change
And I want to be living free
I don't want to be a prisoner
bound in these chains
a slave to my fears
Just want to be living free

And although we all return to dust
There's a lot of us in a terrible rush

Bring my courage back now
Bring it back to me
Tired of being afraid of what I can't change
And I want to be living free
I don't want to be a prisoner
Bound in these chains
slave to my fears
Just want to be living free

Well some take the road to Damascus
Some take the road to hell
I'll take highway one to the evergreens
And everything will turn out well

Bring my courage back now
Bring it back to me
Tired of being afraid of what I can't change
And I want to be living free
I don't want to be a prisoner
Bound in these chains
slave to my fears
Just want to be living free

October 19, 2006

Down in the Valley - 7

The cinematography of this film struck me as giving the feel of the film. The score of acoustic country/folk music helped as well. The story starts with a few high school friends heading to the beach. Tobe (Evan Rachel Wood), is a somewhat rebellious teenager who is living with her brother and father- her mother is never mentioned. On somewhat of a whim and a look, invites the gas attendant, dressed as cowboy along to the beach. Harlan (Edward Norton) and Tobe start a relationship, which her father disapproves of. The love story continues to escalate as the audience starts to find out more and more about who Harlan is. Harlan's obsession is for the old west, and a cowboy's way of life. He approaches all relationships as if they are like a storyline in a western film. But as he come up against the changes and reality of contemporary times, he find he is alone and alienated. The story he envisions in his mind starts to take over and distort the story that is going on in his relationship with others, most notably with Tobe, and her younger brother, Lonnie (Rory Culkin). As the tagline puts it: "Sometimes it's hard to find your way..."

Art School Confidential - 5

If nothing else, this film sparked quite the conversation between a friend and me. I mentioned how I thought the film worked as a kind of satire on art and the art school culture (I imagine most of the information from the film comes from Daniel Clowes'(Ghost World) experience). Since the film is an indie picture, and listed as comedy/drama, I got the feeling early on that the main character was not the hero, but rather the shlub.
The basic narrative is that Jerome (Max Minghella) wants to become like Picasso, a great painter. He finds his muse in Audrey (Sophia Myles), a model who poses nude for his class. Jerome continues to pursue Audrey throughout the film. The sub-plot is that a strangler is killing people in the neighborhood, and this provides material to show the culture of the school (weird roommates, cocky alumnus, and inspiration for art). The film's ending to me dripped of irony and satire. But the film could also be a dialectic about authenticity and facade in art, and how art must tell the truth for it to be truly good. If the main character is the hero, then he is seen as the authentic one among posers and people who are not genuine about themselves and their art. It is interesting that the film does not make any comments on art through the medium of film (by this I mean the cinematography is pretty standard to any other film, while Love is the Devil uses shots as part of the narrative). All the signs point me to see the film as having a subtle message that art will always be clouded with the unknown, it is not meant to have some rationalistic basis, thus the narrative works as a satire to show the absurdity of how rational we have turned art into (the smirk on John Malkovich's face near the end of the film also helps). If nothing else this film makes questions of the purpose and meaning of art come out in audience conversation.

October 18, 2006

Citizen Cope

Today I would point you in the direction of Clarence Greenwood, who goes by the moniker Citizen Cope. He has three albums out currently, I'm not sure of the order in which they were written, but The Clarence Greenwood Recordings, as well as his latest Every Waking Moment are best. I was surprised to see a pretty good review of it in Rollingstone. I say surprised because all of his music tends to sound the same, it is distinct, and has a sort of cross between folk and hip-hop influences, but between different songs there is not a great variety. That means that you either like him, or you think the whole project sucks. By the way, he will be at Mr. Small's Theatre on November 9th and 10th in Pittsburgh. Anyone interested in going?

This morning I was reminded of a post I did about Ryan Adams this summer, it is just as good today.

October 17, 2006

a cure for malaise

"Some music a day, keeps the malaise away." I figured it was about time to get to the second word in the title of this blog... (its become obvious that Keith's advice got a little out of hand on the first:-). I really do think that there is something about music that gets at a core part of our being, I'm not so good at describing it, but sometimes you just hear something good, and it changes your whole attitude and disposition... Just as film gets at the stories of the human condition, music has effects on our human condition, and sometimes it can reach toward the transcendent.
I have decided, somewhat in the vein of Keith and Jason's blog for a year, that I would attempt to put more music up on this site. I also discovered pandora.com (works on Internet Explorer, rather than Firefox, btw) over the weekend and heard some cool new tunes (Hat tip to Chris over at Culture. ish.). Pandora is an online radio station program where you type in an artist of song that you like and it plays songs by that artist and others who are similar, it also explains why they are similar. It already made me buy three new CD's from Amazon (I'll write about those when they come in the mail). So over the next while I will try to make suggestions about music that has changed my day, even if for just a little bit. It will probably end up being a few artists a week.

Today's featured artist is: Dave Barnes. I actually heard about him from Infuze Magazine, an online journal. He is similar in some ways to John Mayer- a sort of pop-folk sensibility. make the station on pandora and you get some interesting stuff...well, OK, stuff that I enjoy.

Later: just found out that he is coming to Geneva College later this year...don't know the date.

October 16, 2006

Batman Begins - 7

Here's crossing my fingers that Nolan will get to direct the next X-men, it could use the help. I wrote about this film when I saw it in theatres. What I want to add is the main reason that I love this film. I love how the film is about fear, not in making the audience scared -like a horror film, but rather to explore the depths of human fear and how it drives human action. This film does not set up a clear dichotomy between good and evil, or between fear and hope. Rather it shows that how we respond to the fear that is within and without, becomes to define us. This also helps to explain why no love story develops, as is the case with most comic book/films. Self discovery precedes intimacy with others. The metaphor of fear and how is works in this story, is important because I think it translates into the metaphors and stories our everyday lives. That is what makes this film great.
All of the characters are well developed (Det. Gordon being the weakest) and the acting is well done (Christian Bale, Liam Neeson, Cillian Murphy, Michael Caine, and Tom Wilkinson) and I can't not mention that Katie Holmes needs to be killed off or replaced for the sequel.

Notorious - 7

This is Hitchcock's subtle thriller. And the suspense works, you can visually see the tension rising. The plot is interesting and timely. The time is 1946 and the story involves Nazi's living in America. Alicia's (Ingrid Bergman) father is imprisoned for treason, and she is lowered to being a fluzzy (her disregard for her reputation turns her into a slave to alcoholic and men), the film doesn't say any of this, but you can see that this is true (that's called good filmmaking). She soon meets Agent Devlin (Cary Grant) who convinces her to become a spy in Rio De Janeiro. All of this slowly develops and the film really is about the relationship that develops between Alicia and Devlin, even thought Alicia eventually marries the guy who is to be brought down. It is a slowly developing film that pays off in the end. What interests me is the timing of the film, the fact that Nazi's are in it seems somewhat ahead of its time, they come of as the enemy, but not as evil incarnate (like most later movies) I wonder how much was known about the Holocaust in America at the time? This film is a good one and should be seen by anyone who considers themselves a moderate to extreme film buff.

October 14, 2006

The Departed - 7

Martin Scorsese, using the story of Hong Kong filmmakers Felix Chong and Siu Fai Mak, has made one of the best films of his career. This film follows in the tradition of his other great films: Taxi Driver, The Last Temptation of Christ, Goodfellas, and Bringing Out the Dead.
The story is what holds the film together, all the other elements are there, but it is the story that you walk away with. Two men graduate from the Boston State Police Academy, Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) plays the part of upstanding cop in order to give information to the man who has brought him up- Mafia boss, Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). The other, Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio), has no family left and is recruited to work undercover and infiltrate Costello's team (Martin Sheen and Mark Walberg are great as his contacts within the unit). They end up having to try to find the other, and it is a test of their character, as they have to use deception, while trying to understand how they can stay true to themselves. There is also the added love interest (Vera Farmiga - unfortunately Scorsese is not very good at portraying women characters, so it remains somewhat of a guy film) between the two men, which highlights the fact that pretty much everyone has to live somewhat of a double life, knowing when to lie and when to tell the truth. A great story about the human condition, and the internal struggle between good and evil. Early in the film, after the death of Billy's mother, a note on here casket reads "Heaven holds the faithful departed." There is a reason this film is just called, The Departed. Your next task, go see the original- Infernal Affairs.

October 12, 2006

The King - 4

It seems obvious that this film is making reference to Elvis Presley - The King. The main character, Elvis Valderez (Gael Garcia Bernal), is a recently discharge from the Navy, and goes in search of his father. His mother has died and he has never met his father, he only know his name. He discovers that his father (William Hurt) is the pastor of a Pentecostal church in Texas (yeah, I thought of The Apostle too- a superior film). He initially is rejected by his father as a mistake from his past. But Elvis is tenacious, and as this process gets more and more sinister, the plot gets predictable. You can check the boxes as the events unfold. And at the end, it is not Elvis and the American Dream that succeed, rather it is the tragedy of failed love. The film starts out rather well, and shows rather than tells the story of Elvis as a loner, but as the film proceeds it takes a turn toward obscurity. Beside that the reference to The King became lost and muddled. I think part of it is a critique of the challenge of culture to Christianity, but that line of thought doesn't continue to the end of the film.

Kicking and Screaming (1995) - 7

No, this is not the hilarious Will Ferrell film where he coaches his son's little league soccer team. This film actually came out ten years earlier and is written and directed by Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale, Mr. Jealousy, co-writer of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou). It reminded me of Richard Linklater's films Slacker and a little of Waking Life for its focus on deep conversations (minus the animation) and loosely to Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. The film follows four college friends after they graduate from college and stick around town and try to figure out what to do with there lives. The main character, Grover, sees his girlfriend leave him to study in Prague, and each of them goes in and out of relationships on the search for fulfillment. What they come to realize is that life is meant to be lived, experiences, and learned from. In some ways this film is a precursor to The Last Kiss, although with more subtle choices. Like most of Baumbach's films it is rather academic (which means I like it) and mostly engages the questions of abstractions as they relate to relationships and life. The film is heavy on conversations where characters are just standing around or sitting around a table. Not an action film, but a thoughtful one.

October 09, 2006

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - 7

This is the second time I have seen this film, and it probably won't be the last. This is a great film. The first time I watched this film I was more focused on the idea of memory and how that played into the film. But in fact the film is really about love. I also love how the narrative of the film makes the story clear, without making dialogue that has to explain what is going. I also like that it doesn't pretend to be a thriller, ala Vanilla Sky. While the film involves technology we don't yet have, it doesn't focus on it, but rather gets at what is fundamental about the human condition: the human need for love, intimacy, and relationship. Although the film is subtle, it is one of the great love story films of this generation.

This film was written by Charlie Kaufman (Adaptation) and directed by Michel Gondry (The Science of Sleep) and has an all-star cast including Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Tom Wilkinson, Elijah Wood, Mark Ruffalo (You Can Count On Me), and Kirsten Dunst. Wikipedia has tons of info for this film entry.

October 06, 2006

not so evanescence

Two new albums came out this week. The Killers' sophomore album, Sam's Town. This album is more U2 influenced than their first album. My favorite song so far is Read My Mind. Evanescence also came out with their sophomore album, which picks up right where they left off from their first album (which means that if you like that one, you'll like this one, if you hated it, well then you'll...) So for all of you out their that hoped that their name was prophetic, they may be around longer than a Beaver Valley morning mist.

later: check out these reviews in Rolling Stone (K) (E), Evanescence actually got the better review.

Edmond - 5

Having just finished reading Walker Percy's The Moviegoer, I can see the influence of it on this David Mamet screenplay. William H. Macy plays a middle-aged man who takes a fortune tellers word that he is not where he belongs and proceeds to leave his wife, and look for a way out of his loneliness and malaise. It turns out much more tragically for Edmond Burke than for Jack Bolling. Edmond never really finds what he is looking for, and he ends up alienated by everyone and everything, mostly because of the anger and frustration that come out of his search. In the end, a rather good film as a character study with lots of allusions to how close Edmond might be to resolution only to have Fortune cause him to stumble. (While I love Macy as an actor this is not his best work.)

October 02, 2006

It Happened One Night - 7

This is one of the classics. In 1935 it won most of the major Academy Awards. Staring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert this film is the start of what would later be called the screwball comedy- perfected by Hitchcock in Mr. & Mrs. Smith. It also has elements of what would be called today a romantic comedy. Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn was also influenced by this film. In this film a newspaper man runs into a runaway heiress, who is trying to rebel and elope with a fighter pilot that her father disapproves of. The two eventually make a deal for the each others benefit. After a few days of charading to keep their cover, and making wicked insults at each other. They start to realize that maybe they were made for each other. But as all comedy's go; mis-communication leads to what looks like a tragic end, only to have a great reversal and a killer last line. Highly recommended, especially if you like old films, or the history of film.

October 01, 2006

The Science of Sleep - 7

Looking for a recipe for dreams? The film opens with scenes from a low production cooking show (inside the main character's mind) where dreams are mixed and boiled; the results are a stunning sequence of colors and motions.
This is Michel Gondry's first project since the indie hit Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. While Eternal was from a Charlie Kaufman script, this film is Gondry's own imagination at work. Part autobiographical (Gondry plays drums, and got a degree in graphic design), and part art project to make his dream world come to life. The story is a dialogue between the imagination and heroism of infatuation/love and the harsh reality of unrequited love. The constant question in the film is how reality shapes the dream world and how dreams infiltrate our everyday lives.
Stephane, played by Gael Garcia Bernal, has been set up to move to Paris from Mexico, after his father has died, and starts a job in graphic design (turns out to be more of a low-level cut and paste job). He moves into his mother's apartment, and makes friends with the neighbor across the hall, Stephanie. Initially he is attracted to doing art projects with Stephanie, and soon discovers how good a friendship they have developed. Stephane, in his youthful eagerness, then mistakes his dream world with reality only to find that Stephanie has her own opinion on the subject. While she relates to Stephane, she does not see it as a romance. The story has a wonderful interplay of humor and sadness that is shown beautifully in the 'crazy' visuals of Stephane's sleeping life.

The Descent - 5

In what seems to be an anomaly, Paul has actually given a film a higher ranking than me. It is a good review, and actually made me consider this film further than I had initially. First, of all, I am not a huge fan of the horror genre to begin with. It helped that I knew going in to look at the psychological and traumatic aspects of the characters rather than the general plot outline. I would suggest the same if you plan on seeing this. The plot just gets more and more outrageous until the point of unbelief (part of a good film's excellence comes from its ability to allow the audience to suspend unbelief). The fear that the characters feel and violence that lies deep beneath the surface is shown with vivid realism. I liked how patient the film was, its first startle moment is probably 45 minutes in. There are two endings to the film. Originally made in the UK, that ending focuses on the psychological and can be seen here. The US version is only a little shorter and ends on a startle moment rather than having some resolve.