Review this movie
Jan 1, 2011This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. *Spoilers*! If you like Indie films and psychological thrillers, without over the top blood, guts and violence, you may like this movie a lot! Co-written, co-directed and starring Joel David Moore, the film builds slowly but compellingly towards a twisted psychotic finale. Fans of the TV show "BONES" will recognize Moore as the tall, geeky, depressingly emo forensic assistant on the rotating guest list.
Moore plays Mason, a painfully shy telemarketer with an obvious talent for and obsession with sketching and painting. He is also obsessed with jazz. (The original sound track is tasty, at times intense and bizarre, but always appropriate to the movie. Written and performed by Todd Caldwell, the music is reminiscent of the late 60's early 70's jazz of Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman.)
Mason has this recurring problem with psychotic episodes. The movie does not detail exactly what happened, but it appears young Mason witnessed something horrible being done to his mother by his father. Apparently this tragic event happened around Christmas sometime in the 70's while jazz played in the background.
Mason also has an extreme fear of elves and there are the running themes of rain and Christmas. (Santa hats in paintings and a surprise date at a local classic film theater showing "It's A Wonderful Life".)
TV's "Chuck", Zachary Levi, in an impressive non-comedic role, plays Berkeley, Mason's long time buddy and only friend. He is Mason's lifeline to reality after experiencing a psychotic episode. He tells Mason to just take his medicine, relax and go back to bed.
After one particularly bizarre episode, Berkeley gives Mason a new sketchpad upon noticing the previous pad has been used up to the last page, which is ripped out.
Mason is later befriended by Amber who works in the same building as he but on a different floor. Played charmingly by Amber Tamblyn she becomes his new sketch model. He paints a series of poses based on sketches in his new sketchpad building up to the "final pose".
One day at Mason's apartment Amber stumbles onto a stash of similar looking sketch pads with different names on each, and the last page ripped out. After a confrontation Amber decides she needs to spend time away from Mason to put things into perspective. At Christmas dinner that night it is implied by Berkeley that Mason does not actually meet the women he sketches and paints, they are figments in his mind. That is why they never show up for dinner.
I'll stop my review here, we never do see that final pose, or get the exact details of what happened that tragic last Christmas between Mason's mom and dad. But the end is creepy and twisty and the whole movie is a delight. It'll stay with you awhile. And you'll want to watch it again, perhaps with an imaginary friend. (^o-)… Expand
The film toys with audience expectations and perceptions by playing fast and loose with circumstances and clues, while leading to an almost unavoidable and dismayingly obvious conclusion.