Monday, March 29, 2010

Stay (2005)

Movie quotes:
Sam Foster: What are you going to do?
Henry Letham: [mimes a gun to his head]
Sam Foster: You're going to try to kill yourself? And how serious should I take this threat?
Henry Letham: Saturday at midnight. It's what I'm going to do.
Sam Foster: Okay, you've gotta know that everything just changed, if you talk to me about suicide I'm required to take certain actions.
Henry Letham: Wait, just deal with him
[indicating patient in waiting room]
Henry Letham: , and we'll talk about it next time.
Sam Foster: There's a next time?
Henry Letham: Yeah. Yeah, we got three days.

"If this is a dream, the whole world is inside it."
- Sam Foster

At a glance:
Masquerading as a real-time story of a psychiatrist attempting to help a suicidal art student, Stay is in actuality a visually rich exploration of the imaginative capabilities of the human mind

Our review (with spoilers):
Psychiatrist Sam Foster (Ewan McGregor) takes over for a fellow psychiatrist to treat Henry (Ryan Gosling) a severely troubled patient who states that he will kill himself in 3 days. The more Foster delves into the case history, the more confusing it becomes – and he begins to lose his mind as well. Meanwhile, he tries – and fails to avoid discussing the case with his high maintenance artist girlfriend Lila (Naomi Watts), who also tried to commit suicide a few years ago. The story is told with beautiful imagery, dreamlike sequences and locations, twins and triplets carrying metal cases, and artfully inventive transitions between scenes.

Stay received an overall low rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but this was because it polarized reviewer. Some hated it; others loved it. In most cases, I like movies such as this. They are usually outside the box, and some reviewers will reject that outright. I crave originality, although it must be said not at any cost: some of David Lynch’s weaker efforts, such as Mulholland Drive, seemed to me to be little more than random words and images pieced together to intrigue his cult of followers, with no real inherent meaning. Stay is in that same vein: you’ll invest a lot of time in trying to decipher it, and you’ll either enjoy the effort (and the inability to truly solve it) or be frustrated by it. Either way, the visuals and acting can be appreciated.

Stay works for me because it is tied, at least loosely, and I suspect quite elaborately, to a real event. For maximum enjoyment, see it with the type of friends who like to discuss movies afterward. Or get on the internet and visit sites like Tuikip’s Blog.

Rating:  3 of 4

Other reviewers said:
"So often, I have seen films like this that try to walk the fine line between creativity and confusion. Director Marc Forster manages to walk that line with precision."
- Kevin Carr (7M Pictures)

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