Lucid (2006) * Hidden Gem *
Genre: Comedy Drama Mystery Thriller (Canada)
Starring: Jonas Chernick, Callum Keith Rennie (Last Night; Flower & Garnet)
Directed By: Sean Garrity
Overview: The problem is not that psychotherapist Joel Rothman can't sleep or has three patients suffering from the same delusions, it's that he's starting to see what they are.
Acting: Callum Keith Rennie is quickly becoming my favorite Canadian actor, (sorry Alan Thicke). He is by far my favorite character in this one too, playing a man ever close to comitting violence. Any movie that has the potential for melodrama like this psychological thriller, but decides to add a healthy dose of comedy just to make a buffer for the excusable over-zealous main character... that's a good thing, and a nice touch. Man, even the kid is awesome!
Cinematography: There are some pretty sweet bouts of imagery. The growing numbers of sheep on the bedroom wall and the rapid-fire editing for those hectic scenes all do a wonderful job of enhancing the visual experience. The closer we get to the end, the better this gets, the more you notice Joel's world falling apart. Oh yeah, awesome.
Script: The writing style is one that not only speaks in the technical from time to time (which I appreciated), it also does well in having characters each with their own distinctly unique personalities, including the daughter. Thrillers can get away with cheap scares and mediocre psychological twists, but when they have genuinely interesting characters like these, it can make a whole movie. Really intelligent and often funny stuff with some neat wild theories.
Plot: Thrillers risk being slow to start. This definitely wasn't. Thrillers can also risk being predictable. Not here neither. Maybe if you spent the whole movie guessing the next step or thinking about the conclusion, perhaps your theory would hold up. I'm not saying it's so full of twists that you'll be all wound up, but I found that I was more into the story than the mystery, and you know that's a good sign. I wasn't even trying to figure it out. I knew I'd be pleased either way.
Mood: This Thriller is less Sliver / Basic Instinct and more The Machinist / The Jacket, so right away you have a mystery of the self needing to be revealed rather than some stupid crazy girl in love. It uses pretty common elements like blue filters and haunting music, suspense and the escalating threat of violence, so it's pretty familiar stuff, but why mess with perfection? It was great.
Overall Rating: 84% (A Real Eye-Opener!)
Aftertaste: My stupid city newspaper, the Ottawa Citizen, gave this two and a half stars out of five, saying it was mediocre, full of plot holes adding that the ending was obvious. What a crock. Roger Ebert gave Flight 93 five stars in the same paper, though, so I took the whole cinema section with a grain of salt. I remember one day when I was a child, I wanted to see Labyrinth, and my friend's mother told us to go see Pirates because the Citizen said it was one of the best movies of the year. Reluctantly we did, only to find that it was the worst movie I'd seen in my life (at the time).
All four of my guests thought Lucid was great. What's the lesson here? Don't listen to newspaper movie reviews, listen to me.