For Reel

Keyhole (2011)
June 20, 2012, 12:03 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Guy Maddin

A naked old man chained in the attic watches over his daughter. Mobsters hole themselves downstairs as the police form a perimeter around the mansion. The recently drowned girl among them is suspiciously cognizant. Such is the world of Guy Maddin’s Keyhole, and to anyone who has previously acquainted themselves with the Canadian auteur’s phantasmagorias, little comes as a surprise. Long before The Artist, Maddin has painstakingly attempted to recreate the look of silent and early sound cinema, drawing much from the likes of F.W. Murnau and Robert Wiene. Keyhole might be his easiest to pigeonhole into any sort of genre – it is roughly a film noir, with a melodramatic narrative as seen through the eyes of a haunted, Humphrey Bogart-like protagonist. Yet other touches are otherworldly sensationalist, such as the appearances of Kids in the Hall veteran Kevin McDonald, who spends much of the film having sex with a ghost in a sort of permanent trance. Although Maddin’s ideas are largely recycled from his previous, better films – voyeurism and other fetishisms, the relationships between overbearing parents and their children, memories from the past resurfacing and further disorienting the sense of narrative – the director has certainly not lost his ability to enchant, fascinate, and confound.

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