Thursday, July 12, 2012


Writes A O Scott in The New York Times: There has been a lot of talk lately about the cinema of nostalgia, inspired by “The Artist” and “Hugo” and “Midnight in Paris,” among others. Mr. Maddin’s obsession with the movie past long predates those efforts. His black-and-white, silent films (including the features “Dracula, Pages From a Virgin’s Diary,” “Cowards Bend the Knee” and “Brand Upon the Brain!” and a bouquet of marvelously kinetic shorts) are more radical and more rigorously authentic than “The Artist.” He uses old styles and technologies not as a cute retro gimmick but rather to explore persistent themes of memory and loss.

In “Keyhole” a gangster named Ulysses (Jason Patric) returns to a home that is haunted by regret and threatened by the prospect of revenge. His minions, bracing for a police raid, pass the time conspiring, complaining, flirting with the boss’s mistress and dabbling in interior decoration. Ulysses arrives carrying a young woman named Denny (Brooke Palsson), whom he has apparently saved from drowning. He is preoccupied with caring for her and also with a young man, gagged and bound with ropes, who turns out to be his son, Manners (David Wontner).

Manners’s mother, Hyacinth (Isabella Rossellini), is somewhere on the upper floors, attended by her lover and the specter of her father. Like his Homeric namesake Ulysses is seeking a way back to his wife, though there is not much evidence of love or loyalty between them. Nor is “Keyhole,” narratively speaking, a reimagined “Odyssey” any more than it is a ’30s crime drama. It’s more like a dusty attic full of battered, evocative cultural references. You might detect the shades of Ibsen’s “Ghosts” and Henry James’s spooky Victorian tales or find other echoes and glimmerings to parse with your friends after the movie.

The Complete Review Here.

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