January 31, 2015


Sebastian Junger & Tim Hetherington, 2010
Filmmakers Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington follow the 2nd Platoon of Battle Company through the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan in 2010, at that time regarded as the deadliest place on Earth.

Restrepo, named after a fallen platoon medic, is basically the equivalent of strapping a GoPro camera to a filmmaker’s helmet and sending him into intense action with actual American soldiers in Afghanistan. The most surprising element is the sense of accessibility that you have with this movie. It doesn’t give you images of the conflict from a distance. You are literally crouched behind the sandbags. You are sitting in the plywood bunkers. You are running alongside the troops through the rough and uninviting terrain. You see what they see. Suspicious figures running out of the seemingly ancient dwellings. The bullets that land a little too close for comfort. There is a sense of relaxation with the 2nd Platoon of Battle company, as they appear to be quite loose in front of the camera. During their shifts in the field, they are locked in to their mission. But after, when are reflecting, they discuss the impact that the war has had on them quite openly. They are candid about the losses they have suffered. They discuss their upbringing. And they also bust on each other. During periods of downtime they take advantage of opportunities to listen or play to music. It’s always interesting to see bits of our Western culture seap into the battlefield, like when the soldiers put on a cheesy pop song and dance to it. There was some of this in HBO’s Generation Kill. Sort of like if Britney Spears was playing in the opening credits of Apocalypse Now. An odd contrasting effect. There is also something about it that feels identifiable. Probably because they are all young men and it humanizes them, portraying them more naturally instead of robotic mercenaries like some media outlets incorrectly portray them to be. You get a clear sense of the pride that they have in their work. They are undeniably doing hard work. When they manage to gain an advance and set up The Restrepo outpost in the highly contested zone, it’s a big accomplishment and they don’t hesitate to acknowledge it. Unfortunately death is a part of war, and is a part of this documentary. When it occurs it hits hard and you feel the weight of it. The loss of Doc Restrepo is felt by all, and his legacy lives on through the rest of the film and of course beyond. But one of the most inspiring elements is how they are able to acknowledge the loss, fight through the grief, and put one foot in front of the other and move on to the next mission. 

January 27, 2015

Force Majeure

Ruben Ostlund, 2014
Tomas (Johannes Kuhnke) and Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli) are on holiday in the French Alps with their two children. While eating lunch on an outdoor deck, they hear an explosion and a sudden avalanche starts to fall quickly from the mountain. At first Tomas reassures the family that it's controlled and there is nothing to worry about. But when it gets so close to the deck that other patrons begin to flee, Tomas panics and runs away leaving his family behind. It turns out to be a controlled avalanche as originally suspected, and when it clears Tomas returns to the table of his shocked and shaken family.

Critics of this movie could say that it takes a premise and beats it to death. They could say things like "okay, we get it. The guy screwed up, let's get over it and move on. Who knows how someone would have reacted in that situation. Either way, is it worth dedicating a whole film to analyzing it?". But the response to that would be a simple yes. It's a premise that's analyzed meticulously, and should be. It's an event that is so quick, but so powerful. It NEEDS to be examined thoroughly. Husband and wife, boy and girl, we play certain roles in the relationship. There are functioning dynamics at work. They are different in every relationship, sure. Especially in our modern feminist society. But most women would say that they want to be with a man that will protect them in the face of trouble. Furthermore, they WITHOUT A DOUBT want to be with someone that will put their life on the line for their family. That's almost a given. And as we are shown with this particular film, those moments come on quickly. You don't have time to prepare yourselves for them. Your reaction needs to be automatic. Unfortunately for Tomas, his automatic reaction was to get up and flee his family. Call him selfish, self absorbed, cowardly. He's certainly those things. Within a matter of minutes, their life went from a happy lunch on the deck to the faults of their marriage being exposed and vulnerable. And not only is Tomas' selfishness exposed, his complete stubbornness to the aftermath of the situation is exposed. Ebba tries to brush it off and move on and not ruin their holiday, but she realizes soon that it's impossible. We have all been in those situations, where some conflict arises in the middle of a vacation or dinner out or something, and you attempt to let it go and move on. Often you can, but not in this particular situation. Tomas and Ebba's marriage clearly has a certain facade quality to it. To an outsider it probably looks like the perfect nuclear family. But as the layers are exposed you soon see that there is a coldness, a lack of intimacy between the two. A lot of it probably has to do with the daily grind of raising children while juggling a career. But when we see Ebba's interest peak when she discovers her friends open relationship, that there is also a certain curiosity of people outside the marriage. What transpires is a delicately balanced black comedy with tones of insecurity, an examination on marriage dynamics and the roles we play, and the role of whats supposed to be a dominant masculine father. It is so interesting to think of one singular event occurring and completely disassembling a good marriage. It's quite possible that nobody could handle that particular concept better than Ruben Ostlund. 

January 25, 2015

Starred Up

David Mackenzie, 2014
Eric Love (Jack O'Connell) is moved to an adult prison where he realizes his father Neville (Ben Mendelsohn) is also serving time.

Starred Up is the term for when a young criminal is relocated from a juvenile facility to an adult one. Mackenzie's prison drama is less of an epic drama like The Shawshank Redemption and more of a focus on a singular figure behind bars like 2009's A Prophet. It has that same grit, the same candor. At times it's tough to watch, some disturbing imagery and language. But it feels authentic. And if it weren't for movies like this, how would we ever visit what's behind those cold stone walls? Starred is bound to trigger memories of fellow British prisoner Charles Bronson, who Tom Hardy played in Nicholas Winding-Refn's 2008 Bronson film. Like Bronson, Eric Love is an uncontrollable force constantly at odds with the guards or anyone in any kind of position of authority. You are fed bits of his upbringing, which are obviously contributory to his life of crime that landed him in the situation he's in. Child abuse, an absent father, no guidance. He never really had a chance. And if it weren't for counselor/psychologist Oliver Baumer (Rupert Friend), the system would just consume Eric and he would be another causality of the English justice system or would at the very least be a permanent prisoner number for the rest of his long life. The fact that he encounters his own father in the prison reinforces the need to confront his anger if he's going to move forward in any way. Eric's rage has snowballed to the point that it's at a boiling point. Oliver serves as the only relief valve, and if he doesn't at least try to mitigate the rage Deputy Governor Haynes is going to exterminate Eric to eliminate any more headache. It seems like there is always that one ambiguously neutral force like Baumer. They always stand as the critical liaison of the prisoners and the guards. It's likely the guards have become so jaded over the years that their expectations are incredibly low of the prisoners. They seemingly have no confidence that any of the prisoners can truly be rehabilitated. They would rather get through their daily shifts with the least amount of conflict, and they can reduce the conflict by inflicting their own force upon the prisoners. Fighting violence with violence, how much sense that makes.

The dialogue in this film is so quick and at times difficult to understand. You might want to watch it with the subtitles turned on (like me). Mackenzie manages to solicit a moderate amount of sympathy for Eric Love. If he doesn't manage to do this, the movie likely fails because it's difficult to get invested in a deplorable criminal. Eric is obviously a guilty person, rightfully serving his time. But at least there is some glimmer of hope that he will be able to be rehabilitated in some shape or form. You don't need a complete transformation with a story like this. You just need a slight arch, and this movie succeeds in bringing that.

January 22, 2015

The Theory of Everything

James Marsh, 2014
This biopic shows the life of renowned physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) from his college days at Cambridge to his later years after suffering a rare neurological disease.

Theory is just a simple love story between two simple people. Nah, not really. It's actually a complicated love story involving a sweet young English girl named Jane (Felicity Jones) and a theoretical physicist who happens to be one of the most brilliant minds of our modern history. The film begins in Hawking's college years. His life is similar to that of many college kids. Roommates, beers with with buddies, busting chops. He has surrounded himself with loyal friends. They are close, respectful of each other. They encourage each other in their successes. Maybe that's an English thing. He meets Jane and it's quite obvious that it's love at first sight. There is the obligatory boyfriend roadblock that Stephen must endure (shortly) but after he does the sparks fly. But it's a unique relationship in the sense that Stephen can literally quantify the atomic mass of those sparks to interested Jane. Theory sort of takes on the Good Will Hunting approach of showing the guy working away on the chalkboard. He may as well be writing Chinese poetry for those who aren't fluent in advanced physics. But fortunately for dummies like me, the movie is more about the relationship between Jane and Stephen. And of course his sudden tragic illness. His illness hits at a point that is normally a healthy peak for most young men. At an age where most young men feel invincible. And why wouldn't they? You can literally go out with your mates and throw back pints all night and not even have a trace of a hangover the next day. Stephen is told that he has two years to live, misdiagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease. The doctor describes how his body will shut down slowly to the point that he will be completely paralyzed. He is quick to ask about his brain. Of course in pure ironic fashion, his precious brain will be unscathed. It's not only Stephen that realizes that he has this precious mind. Everyone around him is stunned to hear the news, and you get a sense that everyone is eager to preserve Stephen's mind. Jane is the one willing to take on the biggest workload. Through sickness and through health, as the saying goes. Her patience is tested, her commitment to the marriage. The movie examines the personal sacrifices and the devotion to your mate. Dealing with the unpredictable elements that life throws at you. Stephen can look up to the sky and make advanced calculations and probabilities of the universe, but he is so limited that he must rely on poor Jane to put his sweaters on or to feed him.

It's a really nice looking film. Lots of shifting colors. There is a constant golden glow that is reminiscent to fellow sharp mind story Limitless. Felicity Jones proves that she's one of the better young actors working right now. And Redmayne, well his performance is nothing short of remarkable. He so impressively manages to push through his physical deterioration with such authenticity and careful restraint. His smile shifts to one of young innocence to one of pure struggle as the story progresses. But it's a film filled with good acting - not one bad performance. It will have you appreciating the things you have, the people around you. You will sympathize, you will try to understand. Figures like Hawking are rare gems. Many are aware of his scientific achievements, but it's welcoming to see it on film. This biopic is right on time.

January 19, 2015

American Sniper

Clint Eastwood, 2014
Adapted from the biography of the same name, This biopic tells the story of Chris Kyle, considered the deadliest sniper in American History with 160 confirmed kills out of 255 probable kills.

To call the opening portion of American Sniper excessively Patriotic would be an understatement. It is like a Budweiser commercial starring Kenny Chesney with two Bald Eagles sitting on his shoulders. Bradley Cooper delivers a restrained, subdued energy to his Chris Kyle character. He's a man that keeps his feelings bottled up, a tradition pased on by the now-overly-cliched 1950's style father. There are attempts to show the origins of Chris Kyle the person, but they are short. They show you the beginnings of his shooting skills with a quick opening hunting scene with his father. They show you his strong devotion to his country when he sees the 9/11 attacks on television, and he is basically on the next plane to Iraq. They are light touches. Instead of constructing a layered protagonist you are served a mumbling Cowboy. You never get a true sense of his sniping numbers piling up. The battle scenes themselves are largely one-sided and never really cut into the complexity of the Middle Eastern conflicts.

To be fair, it is still an important story without question worthy of a movie. If it continues the national dialogue about PTSD sufferers than it succeeds. People like Chris Kyle need to be commended and praised for their service to our country. If it weren't for him, soldiers like him, we would all be living a much different life. Heck, we'd probably be speaking German. But this movie fails to properly examine Chris Kyle the person. Instead it creates a hollow hero image but its a character thats lacking. And in terms of judging this as a Great War film, it isn't even in the conversation. It doesn't have the intensity or impact of a Hurt Locker or Zero Dark Thirty. Instead, it belongs in the same category as not-so-good also rans such as Jim Sheridan’s 2009 PTSD drama Brothers starring Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal. Eastwood is likely to blame. He’s certainly not Kathryn Bigelow. He’s an 84 year old filmmaker whose sensibilities have probably changed. He probably doesn’t have the energy to piss anyone off anymore. Even with the ending of the film, he takes the Werner Herzog approach. It feels like a cop-out. Chris Kyle was an American Hero, and his story would have probably been served better through the eyes of a different filmmaker.

January 12, 2015

Like Crazy

Drake Doremus, 2011
Complications involving a revoked student visa separates couple Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and Anna (Felicity Jones), leaving Anna stuck in England and Jacob in Los Angeles.

Like Crazy works with some real romantic elements, largely due to Felicity Jones' layered performance. She is not only easy on the eyes she is loaded with on-screen charisma. You get a sense of her thought process, her intentions, her struggles. But there seems to be an overt miscast on the part of Yelchin with the Jacob character. His character largely falls flat and therefore affects the overall weight of their relationship dynamic. You can't help but wonder how the film would have played out if they had someone more able, like a Miles Teller or an Ansel Elgort in the role. Somehow these two women are pining over a guy who really doesn't bring a lot to the relationship other than carpentry skills and a love for Paul Simon records. When Anna spots him for the first time and shows interest in him, she shows vulnerability and honesty by showing him her writing. Not once does he go on any kind of tangent that brings you into his head. Instead he's the guy always looking at his phone, you know the guy that you have had in social situations who sits at one end of the table looking down all night while all of your friends are having a good time engaged in lively conversation. On the subject of the phone, there is a glaring lack of internet in the film that seems more convenient to the overall story than it does feel realistic. Anna is forced to return to her native UK because of the visa issue. But it seems like it only takes a short period of time before she is right back into the flow of everyday life without Jacob present. Yes, there is a time difference between Los Angeles and London. But it's 8 hours. So, you call in the morning on your way to work and she's on her way home. Or, you call at 11PM and it's 7AM on the other side. Or you use Facebook like everybody else is doing in 2011. This is getting nit-picky, but it just feels like they are two people that possess smartphones but have a total inability to communicate with each other without the one calling drunk late at night while the other person is in a deep sleep. To be fair, there are certainly some good shots in this movie. When they spend the summer together and there's the flash montage of them laying in bed together. The balcony on Catalina Island. There's just not enough meat on the bones of the love story, and the miscasting and poor editing outweigh the rather good cinematography and score.

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Alejandro G. Iñárritu, 2014
Riggan Thomas is attempting to mount a career comeback with a Broadway adaptation of a Raymond Carver short story, years after entertaining movie audiences as superhero "Birdman".

Birdman is erratic, intense, manic. You spend 120 minutes in the presence of the true theater culture, with all of the moving parts. All of the dramatic impulses, the insecurity, etc. Riggan is the centerpiece of the story but one of many egos shuffling through the narrow halls of the St. James Theatre. Birdman could be called a character unraveling picture because Riggan is basically falling apart for the duration of the film. But his inner conflicts (you could call an overconfident voice in your head part of an inner conflict) and professional conflicts are completely compelling. There are constant elements of ego, self-doubt, regret. Digging your heels into a project that everyone around you seems to not have a whole lot of faith in. As time pushes on you only get deeper and deeper. The stage show is hanging on by a thread during the preview period, but then again all of the people orbiting Riggan are hanging on by a thread for the most part. It's a bold role for Keaton. Birdman is clearly a satirical look at his Batman days, where we didn't see much of him after he put away the Bat-suit despite the fact that the general public remained seemingly receptive. Nice to see him have a sense of humor about some of it. There's quite a bit of humor in the film, basically placing Birdman in a black comedy / dramedy category. It's actually a difficult movie to fully process in short time. There's a sense of satisfaction at the end credits, but it may need to marinate in your brain for a little while. Maybe because it's so flowing and bustling that there's a need for the mind to catch up afterward.

January 7, 2015


Damien Chazelle, 2014
Andrew (Miles Teller) is a new student at the respected New York Shaffer Conservatory. When he catches the eye of intimidating instructor Terence Fletcher, he becomes eager to become a part of his core jazz ensemble.

Whiplash can easily be compared to Darren Aronofsky's 2010 dark ballet drama Black Swan. Both movies tell the story of a young protege eager to please an esteemed mentor figure. Extreme dedication to a particular craft to the point where it becomes an all consuming thing. Overcoming personal struggles, trying to meet the unrealistic standards set by the mentor figure striving for perfection among his tense pupils. And like Black Swan, Whiplash is an ominous piece. But it's more accessible, a story that you could revisit without much reluctance. The dynamic between Teller and Simmons is so engrossing. Although Andrew is a protagonist not without his flaws, selfish with his musical pursuits to the point that it damages the relationships in his life, you are rooting for him to succeed. And although Fletcher is a ruthless homophobic tyrant who uses manipulation and threats of removal to get his way, his character is so fascinating that you are dying to know what he's going to do next. His reputation, past achievements are certainly an academic justification. But is it worth being a human being that's so calculating, so controlling? What's the price of that level of success? Well, we certainly see some of that here. Simmons is certainly channeling some of that old energy from his Vern Schillinger character on HBO's prison-drama OZ. Some of Andrews ambition is also about exceeding the level of success of his father, who he feels has grown into sort of a complacency in his later years. His standards for Andrew are low, he feels if the situation has gotten too intense he should just walk away and move on with something else in his life. But that's exactly why Andrew is so adamant. He doesn't want to be average. He doesn't want to be a face in the crowd. He wants to be the guy on the stage under the bright lights, the guy on the covers of the classic records. The guy that people will be talking about, the way he talks about Buddy Rich or Max Roach. Andrew honestly feels he can get there, and of course the ambition alone isn't enough to satisfy Fletcher. Fletcher is basically looking for someone to sell their soul to the under-appreciated genre of Jazz. Someone willing to make sacrifices that past students have been unwilling to do. Chazelle really creates a picture that resembles Black Swan but it's something you will want to come back to, maybe multiple times. Whiplash is about pushing things to the limit and then going further. Not only overcoming the expectations but overcoming yourself. And damn, what an intense climax.


David Ayer, 2014
Fury as seen in the decaying white paint on the barrel of the tank's main gun, is the large armored home to the group of five soldiers who serve as the main characters of this Ayers film. The film zeroes in on the latter days of World War II. Much of the European countryside has been ravaged by the destruction. The soldiers themselves wear much of the devastation on their faces. None of them appear to bear as much of the burden of the memories as Don "Wardaddy" Collier (Brad Pitt). He has seen many men die next to his gun and in front of it. He has grown increasingly angry with the German enemy. When he breaks away for short moments the memories catch up to him inducing moments of panic. His innocence is no longer evident. He is not exactly an approachable man. For him, it's the routine of completing mission after mission. He senses it's drawing to an end, but he expects more loss. It's almost a guarantee at this point.

When young Norman (Logan Lerman) is thrown upon him as one of his replacement troops, he isn't welcoming to the idea because he immediately sees the inexperience (and the innocence) in him. Much of the film becomes about Norman's character, a wide-eyed noob more suited for a desk job stateside and not even remotely equipped to dealing with the brutality that the others have grown so accustomed to. His initiation involves a lot of the veterans of the group slapping him around, busting his chops. You get a sense that they are just trying to make a man out him, they probably went through the same type of thing when they were new.

Most of Ayers film work has consisted of stories largely focused on police fighting violent street crime. There are some common themes in his films. Ranking hierarchy, male comradery, putting your life on the line for your job. He is able to inject a lot of that into Fury. At this point there have been so many movies about World War II that it has you wondering if anyone can create a film with some originality and uniqueness. Ayer manages to do that here. Some of the battles, as violent and gruesome as they are, feel very fresh. But they are quite gory. There are some images that are bound to stick with you, much like Saving Private Ryan probably hasThe energy between the five soldiers feels very organic, making some really great casting choices. A lot of war movies seem to always have this built in feeling of brotherly love between soldiers. There's something about the way they handle the group dynamic here that makes it feel more authentic. They are tense, quick to turn on each other and get physical. This would make sense because they have been stuck in each others company for so long, under little rest. Of course they don't want to lose each other, but it's a complicated feeling to say the least. A tough love dynamic at work. The movie manages to maintain tension, in and out of battle. When things quiet down for a moment, you never really feel at ease.

January 6, 2015

Only Lovers Left Alive

Jim Jarmusch, 2014
Two vampires reunite after years apart from each other to complain about their frustrations with the modern world and how uncivilized the human race has become.

Jarmusch creates the kind of movies that people want to say they liked. But Only Lovers is a perfect example of an intellectual filmmaker making an awfully dull movie. Maybe he was in his own head too much. Maybe he was trying to hard to make a carve out a niche in an already exhausted genre. But even the story didn't feel all that fresh, either. Maybe the angst-ridden vampire stories are better left for Anne Rice. Jarmusch did do a couple of things right. Shooting in Detroit to take advantage of the dystopian landscape is a good idea, might as well make use of America's dying city and make a subtle message about the actual state of our American culture at the same time. It's no mistake that they juxtapose dying Detroit and culture-rich Tangier. Casting Swinton and Hiddleston is certainly a good idea. But instead of letting Swinton breathe he follows her on exhaustingly long shots through Middle Eastern alleyways. Instead of letting Hiddleston breathe he turns him into a virtually mute emo-rocker, like a junkie who can't seem to get the right score in his hands. And of course that's the point, two vampires completely dissatisfied with the state of the world. All of the culture, the art, the creativity has died off giving way to a toxic race that they call "zombies". Maybe Lovers needed actual zombies to make it more interesting. Only Lovers feels like work while watching it. You get a feeling that you were bit in the neck in the opening credits and slowly bleed out during the remainder of the film, sort of falling into a lightheaded daze. There should be a disclaimer that you need 3 Venti's before viewing. Don't watch this one after a couple glasses of wine. The Blade franchise is more engaging, as strange as it feels to say that. Only Lovers can be placed somewhere in the middle of the Twilight franchise and the much better Interview with a Vampire


Dan Gilroy, 2014
Night owl Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) struggles to find any form of employment until he is excited to discover an underworld group who films newsworthy events and sells the footage to the local television outlets.

Nightcrawler is a menacing nocturnal thriller, with Jake Gyllenhaal channeling a manic energy thats sort of a blend of Travis Bickle and Patrick Bateman with the inappropriate persistence of a TMZ reporter with his Louis Bloom character. But to be fair, Gyllenhaal makes Louis his own and really gives him his own place in the world of deranged movie characters. From the get go, Louis is a difficult character to get behind. He scrapes by, stealing scrap copper and trying to flip it in yards under strict and personally disciplined negotiation. His social cues are a bit unpolished to say the least. Bags under his eyes, with almost an Uncle Fester like purpleness to them. He's a man still trying to find his place in the world. And his world isn't in the daytime. His world is the night-fallen Los Angeles, when all of the shady people come out to play. When he encounters a scene of an accident and sees that there is actually a job where people capture those critical moments for a quick buck, he's hooked on the spot. This form of employment suits Louis quite well, because he is undoubtedly a sociopath. He doesn't hesitate to get right in there with a camera, regardless of the pain or the seriousness of the situation. He is numb to the levity of the situation. His cold shell gets peeled away layer by layer over the course of the film, giving you the impression that you will eventually be exposed to some kind of warmth by Louis. But no, the layers only expose more apathy. Louis is callous, calculating, self serving. He looks upon these crime scenes with open eyes, and nothing behind those chilled eyes feels concerned or empathetic. Perhaps that's one of the most conflicting parts of the story. Sort of difficult to become genuinely concerned about a character like Louis. But much like Taxi Driver, the story isn't really about you getting behind Louis. You sit back and watch in awe. Nightcrawler somehow finds a new way to look at Los Angeles. Gyllenhaal delivers possibly the best performance of his career. He's really showing that he's working on himself as actor, trying to evolve. He's come a long way from Bubble Boy. Nightcrawler is a meditation on our culture of rubber-necking and giving priority to the horrific train-wreck-like events on our TV screens . But it also explores morality through the eyes of a maniac.

Vanilla Sky

Cameron Crowe, 2001
Publishing empire heir David Ames (Tom Cruise) struggles to put the pieces back together in his life after a horrible automobile accident with lover Julie Gianni (Cameron Diaz)

Cameron Crowe is an interesting filmmaker, having taken many directions over the course of his career. He pursued his heart with Say Anything. He pursued his love of music (and of course his own history of journalism for Rolling Stone) with Almost Famous. He pursued personal reflection and personal unraveling in Jerry Maguire. He mistakenly tried to make a more populist kid-pleaser picture with We Bought a Zoo, but that feels like a film that didn't ultimately become what he had originally envisioned. But Vanilla Sky is his most interesting work, his most ambitious work, his most under-appreciated. It's already such a bold move taking one of the biggest actors in Hollywood at the time (Cruise), and disfiguring his face. That aside, he also demanded a big performance from Cruise who really did deliver. There are so many elements at work, some of them so obviously personal to Crowe. The way that this movie looks at love and death, memories, blossoming love. It hasn't been done exactly like this before. The effect of our memories on our subconscious. The impact of dreams. The toxic elements of our life that we fall into. Societal structure, technology, it's really all there. People often criticize this film for being too convoluted, confusing. That's actually quite surprising, because the reveal at the climax really does lay everything out there. The film really builds and builds, getting more complex. The final moments on screen our so powerful and emotional. It should have you questioning your own life, your own existence.