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Does not add up to a story or a movie...
buttyfrench14 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The writer/director is so full of his/her visual technique that we are left without a story, narrative, or plot. Think, David Lynch (always good) combined with Soderbergh's "Kafka" (with Jeremy Irons) and mix in "Pee Wee's Big Adventure", you'll get the picture. Model trains conveniently whooshing around the squalor, black and white, THEN, color.... Now, mix in some, you guessed it, dreams! Oh, did I forget that the writer's big deal was to have genius/time traveler walk around with a briefcase. I am sure that this was lauded as a masterpiece at the Vegas film festival. Oh, the permits to film at the old loon bin were so hard to obtain that it deserved a spiel at the end! Talk about a waste of film. I would advise the writer/director go see "Primer" before tackling a conceptual space/time continuum theme. "I have something for you..." said in the David Lynch little person modulated voice.... yes I get it. Hey, do you expect us to believe that boy-genius laid all of that O-Gauge track for the in-house railroad? Yeah. "Session 9" was filmed at an abandoned asylum, but, it had a real story! No new ideas, I guess. Yes, at the end we get a bad Twilight Zone ending.
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Beautiful Masterpiece For Fans of Indie Cinema
Braxtrax19 February 2009
I just finished watching this movie and I have to say I was very impressed. I can't believe the grading here is so low (for how well this film was made). If you liked Eraserhead, you'll probably like this. The camera work is some of the best I've ever seen. The sound as someone else mentioned(as a hindrance?)I think was amazing, and I was thinking that as I was watching, before reading these reviews. I have been a sound engineer in studio for 20 years so I think my opinion would count for something. That's the point. The sounds are supposed to be up front like that, it adds to the claustrophobic feel of the movie and accents the slightest action taking place in frame which I think is brilliant.

I really enjoyed the calm and surreal pacing of the film as well (contrary to the underlying tension that is always brewing in the characters). There was a steady floating (extremely skilled) quality to the hand held shots that made the cinematography absolutely stunning. Where most movies will shake the camera around to try to make the scene feel "real", this one shows us how it should be done by keeping it smooth just as you would see through your own eyes. Amazing job! I really did not find a problem with the plot or any of the characters. The child actor wasn't the best, but he certainly wasn't the worst. The main character "Jack" was absolutely brilliant. I actually came on here to find more movies with this actor in it, and to find more movies made by this director. The narrative is (as was the film) obviously somewhat influenced by Lynch, but this film is a bit more accessible. And I'm an avid David Lynch fan. There is a definitive resolution at the end. And I also liked the the end credit given to the location of filming... that's something I have never seen before and it deserves respect. The loss of control that someone else mentioned here that the main character experienced toward the end was IMO amazing. It was more drawn out and realistic that the standard "wiping a bunch of stuff off of a desk" tantrums that we see in most films. This added even more to the realistic quality of the film and made me like the main character even more. He is repressed throughout the movie and you can tell because he plays it so well. So when he finally let's go, it's bound to last longer than one swift swoop of the arm across a table of decent china.

Like a Lynch film, every shot in this movie looks like a beautifully crafted painting, and in my opinion, carried none of the pretension that some indie films are famous for. This film maker has the heart and the skill to match. Great story, great crew, great mood, great experience. When I came here and saw that there were only 2(not so glowing)reviews, I had to create an account to write this. I feel this film deserves that amount of respect. Absolutely fantastic job! I hope to see more of your work in the future! :)
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Lovely visual and sound design. Very Lynchian in many ways. However certain detracting elements really took away from it...
lathe-of-heaven14 January 2009
I am really surprised that there are not many reviews for this movie; I would have thought that this film would have provoked more reaction / discussion. One reviewer's comments are a TAD harsh... The substance of which I guess I would agree with, but I think it could've been put a little better.

First off, Definitely an 'A' for visuals and for the DP! Absolutely! And, except for the EXTREMELY annoying and COMPLETELY distracting audio during the first half of the film (MAN, the microphones sounded like they were implanted in the actors' larynx's for God's sake! You could hear EVERY bloody smack of their lips and tongues. HORRIBLY distracting! Also EVERY bloody sound, footstep, box scraping across a surface, key in a lock, DAMN! WAAAAAAAAY to loud in the mix, unfortunately I feel a terrible detraction from the film...) the actual soundtrack and background ambient sound was GREAT! VERY Lynchian.

BUT! And it is a BIG BUT like Mariah Carey's...

Sadly, those of us who totally LOVE films like this or ones that look and sound like these, do indeed expect a bit more substance. In other words Lynch's stuff no matter how way out, always seems to have at least SOME kind of internal harmony or outworking logic of the subconscious, that gives it some kind of visceral 'weight'. However, sort of along the lines of the other reviewer here, the net effect I feel in my lowly and wretched opinion, is just sort of an 'aimlessness'

If I may speak directly to the director... You really did NAIL it quite well in many places; I mean, most film makers can't even come close to doing as well as you did. My most humble suggestion is that if you are going mainly for the complete 'ARTY' look and feel, in other words a COMPLETELY abstract or surreal film, then I believe you need to dress it up a bit more with stronger mood enhancers, a la a tiny bit more visual manipulation / style.

I think what I'm trying to say is, if you're gonna keep it all subtle and low key with long drawn out passages like Lynch does for example, then you need to give the mood and atmosphere a bit more punch. If you want to emphasize the narrative a bit more then, as the first reviewer was putting across in his sledgehammer way, I would say, try to come up with a bit more substance to punch it up a bit. That's about the only way I can put it, for what that's worth..

But, you absolutely held our attention for the most part with the look and feel of the film. The sound and mood were most captivating.

I do feel that there IS indeed genius here, lurking about in that creative mind of yours. Just a couple of very small things, if I may... One, I personally would not have had the clock that he finally fixed come crashing down onto the floor. Very jarring to the overall mood of the film and I honestly did not feel it contributed anything, instead it detracted from the mood that you had worked so hard to construct. Secondly, him throwing that extended fit at the end, I also felt took away from the smooth ambiance that you had created throughout the film. Those are the only 'glaring' things I would personally have taken out. Also, I really need to re-mention the INFINITELY annoying exaggerated sound of the peoples voices and other mundane sounds during the first half of the film. I think your sound editor must've been doing some SERIOUS crack or something during the first half, is all I can figure : ) Unfortunately, that distracted so much from the film that I rated it a '5', sorry about that. Those detracting elements took away from what easily could have been a 10 I think!

But, all in all, an excellent effort and LOTS of good creative imagery; I absolutely LOVED the ambient background sound, sort of the low key 'industrial' sound you usually hear in Lynch's films. Keep up the good work mate! If you wish to write and comment personally, please do so; I THINK my e'mail address is listed here...
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I am defending a great movie.
mindsclay10 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Two of the reviews I've read so far are really bashing this gem to shreds. The first one I read said that there was no story. Not to demean this specific person's intellect, but there was definitely a story. One that I thought was very obvious, a bit cliché in a place or two, but definitely a story... that by the way had nothing to do with physical time travel. It was all a mind game.

Before the spoiler, this is an excellent first feature. Very good atmosphere. Good visuals, which actually made each scene "new". Even if you didn't "get" the story, the visuals kept you watching. One reviewer said something about dreams. I didn't see any dreams, I saw flashbacks into the main character's past. I thought the story and direction flowed well. As if time wasn't linear yet composing an arrow of thought. Which I think is a main point of the movie/story.

I was enchanted by the 3 minute-24 second steady cam one-shot toward the beginning of the film. I was enthralled from that point on. That was very well done. I don't know how many takes that took, but it was one of those "This is our best so far, let's use it." and a good judgement call.

I set this as being a spoiler review because of the reviewer that said this movie had no story. In order to prove him/her incorrect, I will need to nutshell the story (which is still a spoiler).

The story is about a young lad of extreme IQ. His mother is dying and he tries to discover a cure for her by learning what he reads in books. But, those books aren't a part of his scholastic curriculum thus his grades are poor. The teachers don't think he is paying attention in class, but he is thinking about more abstract and advanced topics than the school provides.

His mother dies and he is still obsessed with time. Trying to understand the true nature of time and how to manipulate it. He is diagnosed as a schizophrenic. He is let go when his mental hospital is shut down. He goes back there as a squatter because this is the home he knows.

He eventually realizes that his quest has failed. Boy: "We are going to fix time." Psychiatrist: "And why do you want to fix time, Jack?" Boy: "So I can see my mommy again." There's your story!!

Of course, there are more nuances to the story but I am presenting a nutshell version. Which states that... there is a story, some of you just cannot see it.

This is a great indie, first feature movie. I would put it up against most Hollywood productions. In fact, I would buy this DVD if I could find it.

Very well done, Tom Mattera and David Mazzoni!

Charles Bryan, Mind's Clay Productions
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