Movies that are slightly off.
I'm only a ghost...but a ghost isn't nothing
Gangster and deadbeat dad, Ulysses Pick, embarks on an unusual journey through his home.
Film #4 in The June Challenge
Guy Maddin's Keyhole is an amalgam of the gangster and horror genres, blended together into an absurdist and expressionistic portrayal of memory and guilt. The film is incredibly strange, focusing on the main character's odyssey through his home as he works to recover his memories and receive forgiveness from his wife.
The entirety of the film takes place in Ulysses' home, with a mingling of the past and present through the spectral manifestations of the characters' memories. The gangster scenes of the film are darkly comic, with a lot of humourous dialogue, which stands in stark contrast to the eerie atmosphere of the film. Even a few of the ghosts are presented in comedic…
"Never trust your eyes" our hero is told - and Maddin's delirious trompe-l'oeil style is uniquely suited to a world (as in My Winnipeg) where fantasy is indistinguishable from reality, ghosts from the living, and a tragic twist from a bad memory. He cuts almost as often as Michael Bay, and this isn't one of his funnier films (despite "milk-drinking Ned" and yahtzee-playing Brucie), but it's a triumphant meld of genres, mostly film noir and hothouse family drama, and the melancholy ambience - "sorrow lingers"; nothing can be fixed; you can put furniture back the way it was, but you can't replace a life - keeps the dazzling style grounded. Maddin may seem a little samey now, and not always deep or substantial (though students of pernicious patriarchy - a disembodied penis! - may beg to differ), but posterity will cherish his single-mindedness as it does Cocteau's and Von Sternberg's.
Intoxicating! Maddin's films always feel like a hallucinatory drug to me. A trip into altered states of mind. I thought Keyhole was brilliant and still very true to Maddin's unique style of film making. But what is ironic here in Keyhole is it is not Maddin's trademark superimposing lightning speed editing and psychotic visuals that overpowers the film, it is actually an acting performance. One done by Jason Patric who seizes his role with an almighty forcefulness. Maddin continues to do what he does best, twist the medium into something strange, demented and above all original. Keep doing what you are doing Guy. 8/10
Ya got Kevin McDonald enthusiastically humping a ghost.
Ya got framed penises gettin' dusty.
Ya got frantic solo-yahtzeeing.
Ya got frantic solo-double-yahtzeeing.
and Ya got Udo Kier appreciating some good wallpaper.
Editing from John Gurdebeke is the high point, perhaps...along with the lighting and cinematography. Maddin's amalgamation of numerous genres and approaches works well even when he isn't busy undercutting it all with poorly-executed voiceover, redundant utterances of "ghosts" and moans/screams, and the glaring gulf found between the quality of the performances. Jason Patric is fantastic, reveling in the playfulness of his character while everyone else appears to be phoning it in ((except for Big Ed (Daniel Enright), he's just trying too hard).
Las obra de Guy Maddin me fascina. Me fascina su hondura hauntológica, su enrevesada sexualidad, sus árboles genealógicos torturados..
Keyhole tiene todo esto y además es una peli de fantasmas como ninguna otra. Compro (otra vez).
Hodgepodge of genre iconography and themes of family trauma strained through Maddin's typically rigorous aesthetic sifter. To what end? I have no clue.
"That penis is getting dusty."
The '20s are so thoroughly engrained in Guy Maddin's artistic inventory that even his noblest attempts at modern and relevant filmmaking are blatant silent era tributes. With shadowy visual cues of German Expressionism, he delves through the eerie depths of a haunted house, employing old school effects and high contrast images to tell his idiosyncratic ghost story. Visual space and setting have never been so vivid in Maddin's filmography. Each of the rooms in the Pick estate seems alive, haunted with hallucinatory(?) visions, echoes of memories, the sounds of nightmares, and the constant patter of rain against the rooftop. His metaphysical curiosity is, as is often the case, filtered through pulp and nostalgia. The cast…
A meditation on memory set in a thick haze of forgetfulness. A dizzying labyrinth of dark, funny, and intoxicating poetry. Guy Maddin does whatever the fuck he wants and he does it beautifully. It's as if he is directly in contact with a dream/spirit world.
A strange film firmly set in Guy Maddin's unique world drawn from the techniques of silent cinema, Keyhole is a film noir take on odd family dynamics all set in a house filled with ghosts and memories. It takes a few scenes to settle in to the world, but once you're there it's strange and effective in telling a story in a different way that seems both old and new.
"Everyone who's dead, line up against that wall"
It's this sentence that starts this haunted funhouse of a film.
I loved this one. It's three films in one. The first is a noir deconstruction that takes the all too familiar tropes and blows them up to super-sized caricatures of the genre and then straps them to a chair and lets them ride the lightning.
The next is a surreal ghost story that serves as an allegory for a ruined marriage and things left unsaid.
The final piece is a reversal of A Christmas Carol, with Marley being the primary spirit through which we take our journey through the life of a man who's empire was built on dust. Jason Patric…
Link to a review of mine here - cinemaoftheabstract.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/keyhole-2011.html
Incredible filmmaking makes this experimental movie very entertaining to watch.
The first time Maddin has disappointed me. A brilliant opening gives way to a cluttered (even for Maddin) vortex of entropy that plays on some interesting noir genre cliches/themes but simply doesn't amount to much in the end. I also just didn't find it as visually captivating as his other works. Maybe a revisit down the road will help but for now this is my least favorite from the director.
Maddin's cockeyed take on Last Year at Marienbad.
Keyhole is a wonder of a film from Guy Maddin - a gleefully psychedelic head trip that tells the tale of a man named Ulysses, who comes home one night after attempting to rescue a young woman from drowning. He walks into the house, carrying her over his shoulder. She's still alive - barely so - but we will soon find out that no one in this house is truly alive. Ulysses, a mob boss of some sort, has returned to a haunted abode - and there are many ghosts in this house, consisting mostly of gangsters and mistresses from Ulysses' past. However, out of all of the spirits that remain in this house, the discontent spirits of his wife…
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