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Monday, August 21, 2006 

Stay - by Marc Forster

Watched a movie that got me stay up for hours last night.

“Stay”. It’s named.

I watched it with total wrong expectation; judging by the previous works the director. It’s like having a Chinese herbal soup while you are expecting cheese fonde.

For those of you who haven’t watched it, or even those who had, please take away the idea that it’s a drama/ suspense/ whatsoever story driven film. Don’t! There’s no explanation or even no plots on the surface; at least a more traditional way.

It’s like an intellectual cinematic essay that is recorded and expressed by the director. Like a blog, or a piece of fine art. It doesn’t have a story, no, yes it does have a story but it’s fragmented and loose that doesn’t have any importance for the entire show. Somehow it gave me a feeling of some similarity of David Lynch’s movies. Story’s vague, but thru visuals and lightings and editing, they convey emotions and feelings to the audience. What about “Stay”?

No, at least not to me. It’s some good cast, high quality production, one-of-a-kind editing, sound etc etc; it just doesn’t touched me. Like a piece of art, some you may just admire it’s beauty by it’s motive, technique, choice of colors etc, but you’d never been able to connect to it on a deeper level. This is “Stay” to me.

I would say this’s definitely some kind of dream graduation work for some art school college students. It’s so director driven that the audience cannot, at all, anticipate what’s going to happen next but just accept what the director’s going to feed to you. One of the greatest dreams of many directors is to make the audience directly connect to the movie he created. There’re some good examples of achieving and failing to do so. Achievers: The Ring; where the ghost came outta the tv box that suddenly created a illusion to the audience who are actually looking into the cinema or tv screen. The short moment of the illusion suddenly take away the feeling of being safe or “just a movie” and created a short moment of panic and fear. Failure: Last Action Hero. Keep reminding the audience the boy is in a real world and Arnold’s in a fake one; which directly remind the real audience they’re actually watching something fake, resembling the actual relation between the audience and the show. Hence immediately pull the audience out of the movie and back into reality.

Though some successfully convey various emotions, like fear, sadness thru the silver screen to the heart of audience, have anyone ever convey illusions and confusions? (Well, matrix 1 did a certain level) I think this is a lot harder to do than any other emotions and feelings because first it’s gotta make the audience reject or at least question his own existence. “Stay” is very surrealistic, it’s about parallel world, illusions, and uncertainty. Thus, it’s in a much difficult position.

Like what I had said, this movie is exactly like a piece of fine art (probably it’s the reason the director use fine art in the movie too), either you like it or you don’t. There’s no reason, no fact; just the purest form of emotion connection.

If you are expecting a psychological thriller (like I did), skip it. If you are expecting a drama about life and death, bloody skip it! However, if you are looking for a showcase of what film directors are doing or experimenting in this new millennium, you will get top notch motion picture techniques showcase here.
Or, the best, if you are one of those who are actually seeking the feeling of being lost and confused (about dreams and reality), this is the movie for you.

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