A drama based on an ancient Chinese proverb that breaks life down into four emotional cornerstones: happiness, pleasure, sorrow and love. A businessman bets his life on a horse race; a gangster sees the future; a pop star falls prey to a crime boss; a doctor must save the love of his life.
Sarah Michelle Gellar,
After a frantic suicide attempt, Veronika awakens inside a mysterious mental asylum. Under the supervision of an unorthodox psychiatrist who specializes in controversial treatment, Veronika learns that she has only weeks to live.
Sarah Michelle Gellar,
The restless sales representative of a transport company Joanna Mills travels from Saint Louis to Texas in a business trip. She is haunted by violent visions and after meeting her client, she visits her lonely father. On the next morning, she decides to visit La Salle, a small town where she has never been before, but she had recollections of many locations. She lodges in a hotel and later she meets and is befriended by the local widower Terry Stahl, who helps her from an aggression. Her daydreams and nightmares increase and she becomes obsessed for disclosing the truth about her visions of a brutal murder of a woman in a barn. Along her investigation, Joanna gets close to the killer and feels that her life is in danger. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
When Joanna drives through the salt flat of Texas, the shot has been reversed. Most notably, Guadalupe Peak in the background is inverted. See more »
When you were 11 years old, you became violent. You started seeing things. You started to hurt yourself. Doctor said we were lucky you didn't hit an artery. He said it was some kind of breakdown. You were a whole different girl after that Joanna. I couldn't control you, honey.
Control me? Dad, it is not normal for an 11 year old girl to cut herself. I was trying to tell you I needed help. I still...
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When the credits first start to roll, everyones name's turn and blur away to the next name which does the same. This represents the characters Joanna and Annie and how they co-existed in the same body. See more »
There are attractions to this film. One, it proceeds at its own pace specific to the revelations the main character achieves. Some would say it moves too slowly but, I think, this is only in contrast to recent genre films that rush to exploit thrills, sometimes fun, sometimes silly. The pace is more like that of classic mystery movies with a little film noir mixed in.
The atmosphere is somewhat reminiscent of recent Japanese horror films and remakes though the narrative is much more structured. This is emphasized by the "washed out" look of the photography even in direct sunlight. Of course, parts of Texas where much of this was shot appear a little washed out in reality. While this is not especially flattering to the actors, it underscores the uncertainty the characters must endure. (Congratulations to Ms. Gellar for acceding to this when most actresses are looking for every cinematographic advantage they can get!)
The film is more about character and the discovery of destiny than about complex plot or even surprises. As in many Hitchcock movies, the audience is supposed to know more about some things than the characters. Most horror and mystery fans will have a pretty good inkling of the answer the heroine is seeking well before all the loose ends are tied up. (As the "Robot Chicken" version of M. Night Shyamalan might say, "What a twist!")
Ms. Gellar must portray a repressed young woman suffering from more than one trauma from the past. She conveys effectively that her character is confused, haunted, resolute, scared, brave and smart enough to make her way in a good ole boy business world. She cannot accept help even from the few who are closest to her. Her premonitions (memories?) lead her to out of the way places and a man with a past as tormented as her own. There is solid support from the reliable Sam Shepard and from J.C. MacKenzie in a performance that is quite a departure from his usual roles.
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