Surreal, Dreamlike, Maybe Reminiscent of a Silent Hill Game

I sort of anticipated this criticism. I dunno, the fashion and set design was awesome. I liked the ending. I liked how all the characters were humanized - Gilliam is one of the most humane filmmakers I think, even when his characters are sort of 2-dimensional he always treats them with care and dignity. It’s not one of his best movies or anything, but it’s nice.

For Silent Hill 4 apartment vibes, maybe Rear Window or some of Polanski’s early horror stuff (have only seen Repulsion but maybe also The Tenant)

Somehow totally forgot Rosemary’s Baby with its demon-birth, isolated apartment, and dream/reality-blurring


@wourme @Father.Torque

Ya, can’t argue with any of that. It was definitely better than The Brothers Grimm ha ha ha. I do think Gilliam most likely did everything he could with a kind of dumb screenplay.

Like, I keep feeling like there should be some really easy reference points for this kind of plot, but I can’t think of any off the top of my head. It just feels like “Middle aged man with existential problems is charmed/seduced by a hott young lady” is sort of an indie movie trope, though I’m at a loss for precedents. The Man Who Wasn’t There, I guess? But there must be others. It’s sort of like Garden State dressed up as a science fiction film IMO.

I don’t go in much for plotting in movies, which are short - not to say that some movies can’t excel because of plotting. Most movies have plots that can be reduced to a single sentence. It’s in cinematography, kineticism, imagery; Zero Theorem’s got that in spades.

I saw some movie, I think it was Dark Floors, that seemed like a half assed knockoff of Silent Hill.

Dude loses daughter in a suddenly abandoned hospital, and with a few other people try not to get killed by monsters as they go down, the environment becoming more twisted and filthy and dark and hellish. I forget exactly how it ended, except he found his daughter and she was all glowing and shit.

It wasn’t very good.

oh hell yes
##The Tenant
Roman Polanski moves into a Parisian apartment recently vacated by a female tenant. He finds odd items in the walls, & starts seeing weird occupants of the shared bathroom visible across the courtyard from his window. He vacates the apartment also.

Moving In, Creeping Out

A horror sequel to Repo Man?


another stephen king story about a haunted hotel. a professional skeptic wants to debunk the rumors, and that’s about all the plot the movie needs to get going. it’s a little hackneyed and over-long but a few elements remind me enough of my own dreams that i felt like it was worth including (like the false wakes).


…or anything else in the same genre of “compiled footage with music.” it’s like a reverse david lynch, making the mundane look surreal instead of depicting the surreal as mundane. it’s not too much like SH but i think you could make an interesting comparison between the two? aside from the point the movie’s actually making, it feels like, more than any other film i’ve seen (except maybe Eraserhead) like a future-tech fMRI image reconstruction of someone’s dream, put on a disc and sold

eXistenZ is supposed to do what you’re talking about, i think, but i don’t think it does it very well. uh, probably same with Paprika?

Cat Soup counts, although at that point i’d just want to start talking about yume nikki or lsd dream emulator

the zero theorem, plot-wise, is only marginally less bad than the nanowrimo novel i wrote when i was thirteen. it is a movie about how everyone is shallow except for the protagonist, whose main flaw is that he’s just too brilliant for this world, including worldly things like being able to talk to other people. it confuses aspergers and social alienation for profundity. it is probably at least a little misogynistic. it is every complaint i’ve heard someone make about games by jon blow. (as science fiction it also sucks). i’m pretty sure the ending is literally the protagonist becoming the ubermensch? how is this better than a pikachu essay, or the matrix

i think the only movie i hated more than 8 1/2 was the avengers, for pretty much opposite reasons

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You found Zero Theorem’s protagonist heroic? If anything the movie is too obvious about depicting him as flawed and the instigator of his own social alienation. In fact, a huge part of its theme is that you’re supposed to think of him as this misunderstood genius among shallow jerks in the beginning but by the end you realize everyone else is comfortably human and he’s the shallow jerk.

I never thought I’d talk this much in my life about a mediocre Gilliam movie but there it is.

Yeah this pretty much.

i dunno, i could definitely be missing something obvious here, but what i got out of it was that gilliam did the same thing he did in Brazil, taking a pat happy ending and replacing it with martyrdom (this time by writing it into someone else’s script), with a slightly more positive “false enlightenment” spin, like qohen was too beautiful for this world and had to escape into a false, virtual one. i’m invoking Word of God here but i can’t square your interpretation with what gilliam’s said in interviews

[quote=“Terry Gilliam”]What was important was after the hammering we put Qohen through – there’s a girl who wants to go away with him but he can’t, because he’s too damaged; there’s a boy he can be father-like to, he can help, and that gets taken away from him; everything is taken away from this man – I felt we had to end on a note [where] he has dignity, and you felt that he has some acceptance of the world, rather than fighting, complaining, or running from it. It’s there, and he’s got control of something: the sun, and its setting. It’s a virtual sun, but it’s something.”

“So, I decided to leave it at a moment where I think it was ambiguous, ambivalent, and Qohen looked tall, looked strong. In the other ending, he looked more like a fool.”

“I had a lot of arguments with the producer … I felt it was very important that we leave him with dignity; something we’ve never seen in the course of the film, or some aspect of it. And that’s what we did. To me it’s a very sad ending, but I also think it’s an honest ending when you think of how many people find the virtual world more comfortable than the real world.”[/quote]

gilliam is saying he wants to make qohen look like less of a fool in the end, which is pretty much the opposite of outing him a “shallow jerk.” am i accidentally twisting his words here?

e: just wiki’d this and the fact that it was the screenwriter’s first script only makes me more sure of my suspicions about it

Like I said, Gilliam is very concerned with humanizing everybody, which means leaving Qohen with some dignity, yes. But it’s meager and hollow. He resigned himself to virtual life because he couldn’t deal with real life, not because of psychiatric limitations, but because of a lack of will to follow through with human contact. That doesn’t make him an evil villain, but it does make him someone not to be emulated.

This topic mostly brings to mind weird, disjointed horror movies with big dream sequences, such as The Serpent and the Rainbow

Which is not good, but entertaining enough and Phenomena

Which is awesome, but probably not as cool as this trailer makes it look because wow that trailer looks like the best thing ever.

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I feel like Upstream Color probably belongs in this thread, right?

Also in non-horror, Russian Ark fits very well.


I saw this one in the theater. I probably didn’t give it a fair chance because I have an aversion to “ghosts” in films that use television static effects just because The Ring did even though it doesn’t make any sense.

Whenever I see this, its sequels, or Baraka described, they all sound like things I’d enjoy. But I haven’t seen them yet.

I pre-ordered Upstream Color without knowing anything about it (except that it was by the Primer guy). I wasn’t sure what to think of it, exactly, until I was describing it to someone later and realized that I could definitely appreciate the story even if I still had a hard time forming a concrete opinion of it.

Wanted to bring up something about Silent Hill 2 and Solaris but not articulate enough to write much worth reading. Have only seen Tarkovsky’s. I guess it would be something about the town and the planet as beings that reflect the repressed feelings of people drawn to them but that element probably exists in a lot of other media.

tarkovsky sure is ace when it comes to conveying these really raw sensations on an oniric landscape. from the ones i’ve seen i think the mirror is the closest from a silent hill-esque perspective.

realized it’s been about six or seven months since i last watched a tarkovsky movie. i’m ready for a new hit.

If anyone else is, like me, hoping to track down some of the more obscure films in this thread but finding that even Netflix’s DVD plan doesn’t have much anymore, try searching your local public library. I was surprised to find that ours has many foreign and unusual films in addition to the popular stuff and things widely regarded as classics.


Pretty much never use online video subscriptions and prefer to use the San Francisco Public Library system’s extensive stock of DVDs/BluRays.