A thought-provoking and haunting exploration of how reality and dream-states may combine to form complex interactions. The line between the imagination and reality blurs when an accomplished Psychiatrist takes on a patient that appears to be suicidal. Written by
It is a truism that film, as a photographic medium, intrinsically resists the psychological. In the hands of a less gifted director, this would have been equally true of STAY, despite its overt plot in which a professor of psychiatry struggles to find a psychological clue in order to prevent a young artist from committing suicide at a precise time and location the artist has planned.
But without altering this plot as written, director Marc Forster has invented an editing style (combined with a rigorous control of transitions and point of view) to create nothing less than a parallel plot to the film, in which the professor must contend with the horror of his own descent into full-blown psychosis.
Since the director conveys this parallel plot entirely through visual means, and within the point of view of the hero of the story, its consequences are all the more disconcerting, and we feel the terror of the realization of losing one's mind more acutely than in any previous screen depiction of madness I have seen.
Much as the young artist's psychotic identity implicitly consumes the identity of his psychiatrist, so does the visual plot consume the overt, written plot of the film, like an unconscious motivation that overcomes a conscious one. By succeeding with such an ambitious design, Forster has invented a new kind of film in which the psychological, in all its frightening depths, finally becomes visible.
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