In a house haunted with memories, gangster and father Ulysses Pick (Jason Patric) arrives home after a long absence towing the body of a teenaged girl and a bound and gagged young man. His gang waits inside his house, having shot their way past police. There is friction in the ranks. Ulysses, however, is focused on one thing: journeying through the house, room by room, and reaching his wife Hyacinth (Isabella Rossellini) in her bedroom upstairs. His odyssey eventually becomes an emotional tour, as the strange nooks and crannies of the house reveal more about the mysterious Pick family. Written by
Before viewing, I saw this film referred to as a '30s Gangster homage' or noir-styled 'drama'. For anyone expecting a throwback film or conventional narrative, Keyhole will confuse and then, probably, disappoint. In fact, Keyhole is a very abstract take on the memories and emotions harboured inside an old house, which is inhabited by ghosts and other slaves to the past. And while Keyhole isn't a gripping crime thriller, neither should it be taken purely as an academic statement or challenging art-house experiment. Like most of Maddin's films, the dark absurdity and creative imagery is almost casually amusing and less pretentious than comparable movies. The cinematography, music, art direction and performances are tremendously captivating, if occasionally over-bearing. For anyone who's intrigued by these elements as much as by the often-mislead depiction of the film in mainstream media should definitely see Keyhole. Anyone who's turned off by bizarre inventions of unorthodox storytelling should leave this door locked.
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