Keyhole | Movie Reviews + Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper
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Keyhole 

Guy Maddin's new film has plenty of style, but not much coherence

It's a mystery to him: Jason Patric

It's a mystery to him: Jason Patric

How does a director explain a film like Keyhole to his actors? How does he get them to appear in it? (Oh, OK: Isabella Rossellini and Udo Kier do weird shit all the time.) The new film by Guy Maddin — the freaky-imaginative camp-metaphorist writer/director who works in his native Winnipeg — is pretty much like his others: You have to be patient, and even then, it won't make much sense. And yet, if you love the cinema, he's irresistibly unique.

Keyhole revolves around a haunted house and a gangster (Jason Patric) named Ulysses, who makes his Odyssean way through the house in search of his wife (Rossellini). It's a spoofy homage to Homer and to '40s-style noir. It's puzzling from the start, when one man tells a group of people to line up — the living facing him, the dead facing the wall. "The happiness a house knows is free to vanish the moment its inhabitants leave," our spirit/narrator says, "but sorrow must linger." And so it does, in high-contrast black and white, as Maddin reflects on love, death, family, regret, revenge and sorrow. His drama is as slow as his visual style is kinetic, and at the end, all you can really do is wonder what just happened. Thu., April 12, through Sun., April 15. Hollywood, Dormont

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