Sunday, January 14, 2007

Rhinoceros Eyes: Grade B


Rhinoceros Eyes (2003)

Michael Pitt, Paige Turco, Gale Harold. Director Aaron Woodley

Pitt is a young man working (and living) in a movie prop warehouse, in this obscure Canadian independent film. He is extremely withdrawn and as the movie progresses we see he is mentally ill, experiencing delusions and auditory and visual hallucinations. The thread of the story, such as it is, is that an art director (Turco) requests oddball props, and he provides them for her, sometimes by robbery, feeding his fantasy about her. Harold is a detective investigating the robberies. The acting is well above average, but the story is incoherent. Pitt attends the same bad movie every day and quotes lines from it as if they were his, and sometimes sees himself and the other characters on the screen. The detective then gets a role in a movie as a singing and dancing detective (an excellent performance by Harold). I don’t like movies about mentally deranged people because it lets the writer off the hook for presenting a plausible character. Anything goes if you’re nuts, so the audience can’t relate to the character. The stop-action animation of his inner demons is outstanding. The costumes, sets and colors are eye treats, and the story gets high points for originality even if it is nonsense. The DVD "Making of" feature is just as nonsensically incoherent, so this may be a new form of filmmaking that I just don't appreciate. I’d like to see more of Turco and Harold.

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