Saturday, July 21, 2012


I was nearly the only one for the late show of this little mindbender at the Roxie last Friday night (about 4 other people showed up at the last minute.) But the select few were treated to either a delightful hallucinatory trip or a pile of pretension. It takes place at the Arboria Institute, founded by doctor Mercurio Arboria (Scott Hylands,) a 1980's guru of happiness. But the institute is run by his assistant Dr. Barry Nyle (Michael Rogers,) who has some sinister motives. Or even if his motive--the chemical key to happiness--isn't sinister, his methods are. That method involves the systematic interrogation of a young girl (Eva Allen) and the story--as much as there is--is the story of her escape. But narrative isn't what this movie is about. It's about the visuals. And as far as they go--well, I don't think I've ever seen a movie that is more self-consciously intended to be watched on acid. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but for the most part I enjoyed it even when I was making fun of it in my head (You know what this movie needs? More close-ups of eyeballs.) First time write/director Panos Cosmatos certainly has a stylistic flair, and I'm definitely interested to see what he'll come up with next. It kind of feels like a student film from a cult director like Cronenberg or Lynch, where if he goes off and has the same kind of career people will look back and see the primordial forms of his ideas in this (come to think of it, that's the feeling I get whenever I watch a Richard Kelly movie, I'm just waiting for him to have a career that makes it worth revisiting SOUTHLAND TALES.)

Running Time: 110 minutes
My Total Minutes: 291,865

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