Spiral (2007) Poster

(I) (2007)

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Spiral plays in Portland
lennonroxanne18 June 2007
Spiral is a well-acted, intense thriller about a lonely, delusional young man trying to overcome his powerful inner demons. In the starring role of Mason, Joel Moore effectively plays a telephone salesperson whose feelings of anxiety and confusion are intertwined with disturbing flashbacks of his former girlfriend. Mason cringes from most of society. His boss (played by Zachary Levi), an arrogant womanizer who knows the circumstances of Mason's tragic past, is his only friend. Gradually, however, Mason builds a relationship with a young female co-worker (played by Amber Tamblyn) who brings out his confidence by encouraging his artistic talents. Yet, Mason's feelings of dread and paranoia are never far away. In fact, deciphering whether Mason's reality is synonymous with truth kept me spellbound throughout the film. The camera work in Spiral is especially outstanding. Sudden, vivid images from Mason's memories take the viewer to his level of turmoil and terror. In addition, shooting this movie in the great city of Portland, Oregon was an excellent choice. The gloominess of the rainy winters fit perfectly with the murky shadows of Mason's mind. The end of the movie has some great twists and surprises for the audience to relish. When all is said and done, Spiral is a wonderfully dark and intense film that holds up to any of today's big-studio thrillers.
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great style!!!
kabeile18 July 2008
Now this is really a movie for anybody, who is not only focused on getting a gripping story when going to the movies. Everyone who can get the kicks out of nicely staged and directed pictures, visual effects, lighting and the whole scenery will be pleased to see this one!

I got interested in the movie because of its director, Adam Green. Unlike many other users here i saw HATCHET on the 2006 Fantasy-Film-Fest in Germany and loved it! So i looked through IMDb from time to time, to see what he would do next.

First of all i have to warn all the "Horror/Gore/Splatter/whatever"-Fans. This movie has absolutely nothing in common with HATCHET except for its director and leading actor! Second: Don' t watch the trailer! It is a real spoiler, and it lets the viewer assume that SPIRAL would be a psycho-thriller, with a really dark atmosphere all the time and shock-moments every five minutes or so. It isn't - but that is what's best about it.

Other users compared it with Hitchcock and i have to say, that this reference also came to my mind when i watched the film. It's a mixture of a really gripping relationship (love-story???) and a character study that every now an then has its dark undertones. Only at the end there are real classical and modern thriller elements. The plot and the whole atmosphere really reminds me of my favorite Hitchcock movies like "Vertigo" oder "Marnie".

Of course you can see, that Adam Green is still trying to find his unique style, that the actors do their best but are not yet at the peak of their acting abilities and that this is an indie-film with a small budget. But after all i would say, that this is without doubt one of the best movies i have seen the last months!
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Office Space meets Hitchcock
allancronin17 February 2007
This mystery/thriller has quasi-comic elements in the initial portrayal of the protagonist. But all is deceptive and this well-constructed film holds your interest with a well written script. The charming Amber Tamblyn shows her acting skills and is well cast as the quirky girlfriend character. The acting and pacing are excellent.The office space reference in the summary is due to the fact that the main character, an artist, works at an insurance company as his day job. His high school friend is his boss and tries to help him throughout the film. This is just a little reminiscent of the "Office Space" style parody of such places. If you like Hitchcock and independent film, you will love this one.
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See This Film.
angelwriter1232 April 2008
Spiral is the story of Mason, played by co-director, co-writer, producer Joel David Moore from Hatchet. Mason is a telemarketer, who likes to paint mysterious women, and consumes nothing but peanut butter sandwiches, apples and milk. (Just a warning, before viewing, you may want to be sure to have these items in the house in case you have a sudden craving. Or maybe that's just me?) Mason's life is a mess; he's messing up at work, having panic attacks that end in 3am phone calls, and freaky visions of some waitress. Mason is like a child in a man's body, awkward, scared; he needs a lot of help that he unfortunately isn't getting. Mason's only "friend" is Berkeley, played by producer Zachary Levi, who I hear has a show called Chuck but I've never seen it. Berkeley doesn't so much help Mason, as treat him like crap, then tries to justify it to himself and others by saying that he's being "honest". I think he's said it enough times that he actually believes it either that or he doesn't care, because he treats everyone the same way. One day, Mason meets a woman named Amber, played by Amber Tamblyn of Joan of Arcadia and more recently a great Hallmark movie, The Russell Girl. Amber is happy, bubbly, outspoken, and open book, she's the exact opposite of Mason and for a while, their relationship seems to work. Mason decides to paint her; he starts to seem happy, borderline normal. But, Amber knows there's something in his past, other women he's painted but won't talk about and the harder she pushes the more he pulls away.

After seeing co-director Adam Green's film, Hatchet, back in December I wasn't sure I was ready for the 180 into Spiral. I knew this film was going to be different, because for one thing, Spiral wasn't written by Green. This film is Joel David Moore's first as a writer/director but you have to wonder how the director of Hatchet is going to make this film work. I don't know how they did it but Green and Moore did an incredible job, I love this film. It reminds me of Psycho (the original not the piece of crap 1998 remake), the Sixth Sense, and maybe even a little 1408. Spiral already seems like a classic, with a great storyline, amazing jazz score (I'm not even into jazz), great camera work (even the hand-held at the end which makes you just the right amount of nauseous) and memorable performances. I'm not saying that all fans of Hatchet will like this film because I know many of them won't, Spiral isn't hardcore horror and it doesn't claim to be. Spiral is much more psychological, character and relationship driven. But if you like mystery and suspense, with a great twist ending, see this film, you won't regret it. My only wish for Spiral is that it could see a wider audience because the film and filmmakers deserve it.
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Short and Sweet
heyanerd13 June 2010
The best thing about this movie is that despite how much you THINK you've seen this story before, no elements of the tale overstay their welcome.

It's like when a band you really like comes out with an EP. You enjoy it for what happens within the boundaries it's length.

What works best is the acting, particularly that of Joel David Moore, who simply seems to be enjoying himself while finding depth in this character him & Adam Green more than likely collaborated on. Amber Tamblyn was also not annoying to me in this. Sounds back-handed, I know, she's talented, but just ain't my style most of the time.

Also, the choices of music in the film add to it's uniqueness.

Please, do enjoy "Spiral."
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Not worth the time.
thumbworn21 July 2014
First, I have to say that I picked this film up based on it's rating and after perusing the reviews here. While I was sitting through this terrible film, I started reading the reviews again, and I have to wonder if every person from the crew posted a review, because I, nor the friend that watched this with me, saw none of the good points in this film that many of the other reviewers did. It is painstakingly slow and boring with no payoff. The camera work is oftentimes very shaky and the colors aren't true. I'm not going to waste any more of my time, or yours, reviewing this. In short: It's not pretty, it's not entertaining, and it reeks of pretentious amateurishness.
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Excellent film. A must see for indie film fans.
kaylarhaney12 March 2008
"Amber" is probably my favorite character that Miss Amber Tamblyn has played thus far, that being said, Spiral is probably my favorite film that Amber has done so far. Same goes for Joel Moore as Mason. Very well written, creatively filmed/produced, great performances by everyone involved. I love getting attached to characters in a movie, which is something that the actors bring to this one. They all kind of grew on me. That's a rarity in the film industry today, but this cast really did an amazing job. There's a few other actors that could have maybe played the parts well, but with anyone else the performance and believability in the movie would have been a little on the blah side. This is some Incredible work, kudos to everyone involved. If you're an indie film fan with an open mind, which most of us have, you will love Spiral.
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Awful Film - An Embarrassment
Intacto2 March 2008
As a true lover of film I must advise you to avoid this appalling effort,, God knows how funding was approved, Seriously this is one cinematic experience which delivers zero dramatic tension and plods along until nothing happens again and again and again ,, The only connectivity is two scares which at least keep you awake Possiby the worst film I have ever witnessed and the acting by the female lead is bordering on criminal intent. One blessing with modern technology you can fast forward and watch it on 12x and it will only last 25 minutes, ,, And you won't miss any of the plot

No idea how people find this at all interesting and some are giving it high marks !
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Do I not get it cause there's so little to be gotten or...
nybred424 April 2010
After reading many of Spiral's reviews, I had to leave one for the less hebetudinous. It was awkwardly contrived, not unlike Meet Joe Black and Eyes Wide Shut. Those films had the outrageous nerve of making us look at pretty people without dialogue for 10 second clips all movie long. This film serves up the same silent drivel with a face that's supposed to have the same effect as a motorcycle accident, but fails to make anyone I know care. Gorgeous girl is liberated, feeling safe in her own skin for the first time in, who cares.

It seems this move was made to be enjoyed by politically correct souls. Those who want to demonstrate to whoever how intuitive and sensitive they really are if one to peak under the garb one needs to wear in the biz world. I didn't get it, thank goodness.
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Moore... Boring... it's just too easy sometimes...
BA_Harrison13 January 2015
Spiral was written by actor Joel David Moore and Jeremy Danial Boring, which is funny because it's hard to see how this film could be any Moore Boring (badum-tish!).

Moore stars as socially awkward, neurotic, tooth chomping, jazz loving, asthmatic insurance salesman Mason, whose hobby is obsessively sketching and painting pretty girls. When attractive new co-worker Amber (Amber Tamblyn) takes an interest in his art, the pair develop an unlikely friendship (Very, VERY unlikely, given how bloody insufferable Mason is) which leads to Amber posing for a series of paintings, before ultimately hopping into the sack with the weirdo (sh'yeah right). However, when Amber discovers Mason's previous sketch-books of other girls hidden in his bedroom drawer, she begins to suspect that there is something seriously wrong with her new pal (something that the rest of us probably suspected from the beginning!).

Co-directed by Moore and creator of the Hatchet trilogy Adam Green, the majority of Spiral moves at a snail's pace, with the dreary, unbelievable action accompanied by a discordant jazz soundtrack that only serves to irritate further. While I admire Green for attempting something a little different, the slow burn style employed here is hard to endure, particularly when combined with such an unappealing central character. A weak Shyalaman style twist ending, in which Mason's womanising boss and only friend Berkeley (Zachary Levi) realises with shock that Mason is not only delusional but dangerous, does little to redeem the movie.
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Open eyes, See this!
PunkandFlannel20 February 2008
...I won't say much any thing else here, give anything away, or even really comment on Spiral. But it's definitely worth seeing!

This is one of only a few independent style movies I have seen recently that I don't find much of any problems with. This film is very different, and done very well on all elements of making a movie from the writing to the directing to acting to the story in this genre. I don ever see a film done where there isn't a piece that is out of place somewhere and you can really tell it. This film seems like a first in a while of perfect symmetry.

Amber Tambler, and Joel (forgot last name, sorry) act so good together. They really experience each other unlike any chemistry by actors I have seen lately on the big screen. You will be moved by these actors, and really drawn into their world.

I am very impressed by this production, and can't wait to get to see more from these filmmakers!

I don't know why films like this don't get more attention.
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Awful for the most part
Superunknovvn19 April 2008
Adam Green and Joel Moore have already made one irritatingly haphazard movie. Whereas the inconsistencies of "Hatchet" could be explained away by saying it was all just tongue-in-cheek anyway, "Spiral" strives to be a "serious" movie and suffers from its multiple shortcomings.

For the first 30 minutes or so the movie is literally going nowhere and even after the first five minutes you're already tired of the annoying main character Mason. You don't feel for this guy. You don't hope all will turn out well for him and you certainly don't identify with him. And that's a bit of a problem when he is the character we should care about the most.

What else is bad? The annoying editing, for instance. The way Green and Moore throw in cheap shock cuts just so anything will disrupt the otherwise painfully slow pace of the story.

The Indie songs that underline certain scenes are as clichéd as they are out of place. I wonder what they were thinking when they were picking the songs.

The only good thing about "Spiral" is its twist. Make no mistake, it's not mind-blowing or exceptional, it's just something that finally takes the movie forward. Unfortunately, it's already too late by then, of course. The ending can not redeem the movie, but at least it keeps "Spiral" from being a complete failure.

Bottom line is, that Green and Moore have made a thoroughly mediocre thriller. Don't expect another "Hatchet". In fact, don't expect much at all, and maybe you're going to find something to enjoy in "Spiral".
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Too drawn out, ruined what could have been a good movie
D-Sligar14 September 2008
OK, we got JP from Grandma's Boy and Chuck from, well Chuck. I thought this movie would be quite good based on the reviews, and it did start out pretty high on my movie scale, but about halfway through it was just dragging out for so long I kept losing interest. I actually got so bored, probably because you can see right away what's going to happen in the end; the story is actually quite thread-bare, I skipped over 15 minutes and didn't miss a thing! This film should have been a short work, maybe around 45 minutes to an hour max. It starts out good and finishes good, too bad the filling is bland, boring, dull, and lacks everything but time. Some people say they like it for the music; I don't care for jazz and I don't go see movies for their score, I go for the story and when that's drawn out... well, ratings drop in my book.

Bottom Line: Good open, great close, boring filler. Story was cool, but if you don't know what's going to happen a quarter of the way through, you haven't seen too many thrillers.
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Chasing sleep and American Psycho
darksong-16 March 2008
Recommended to me by a friend from Denmark who came to stay. I first watched it only in part and found the film to be both amusing and suspenseful. Decided to watch it more sober in full today and discover the end. The film follows the life of a suspicious looking artist who is secretive and closed in person. He also works as a telecommunicator and attracts the friendship of a lively and friendly woman working close by. Together they make a good contrast that keeps you wondering who or what is real in Adam-the artist life. His outgoing boss is all at a loss to why Adam is this way but understands that we all have our problems and tries to help him in brotherly sense. He acts more as a king in his domain and tries to understand the Jack-frost mind of his colleague. The end comes as a surprise by the fact some of the answers to his motives and behaviour was not so well developed as could have been. However, i still enjoyed it. and would say it was not at all bad. Also to say that director Adam green's short film -king in the box- i watched after on youtube was funny and surreal and has a connection with the King and Snowman theme. check it out.
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Awkward, artfully shot, annoyingly scored, twisted
arocvegas-3258024 June 2021
Do you like art and jazz mixed with depression and anxiety, office politics and murder? If so you may like this film. Amber Tamblyn is adorable. What does she see in Mason anyway? Artfully shot. Too much Jazz playing throughout the film (annoying). Interesting twist at the end. I dug this out of my DVD collection.
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pretty good
nightlavender-928277 March 2017
I found this a very interesting movie. you feel sorry for mason but at times you wish he would be stronger and not so weasily. amber tamblin is adorable and very good.i was hoping for a different ending though. all in all it was a good movie and keeps you enthralled.i didn't realize it was filmed in Oregon as I live there but now all the rain makes sense.if you're looking for a tense tight thriller, this is it.
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davorm15 March 2008
This movie was strange... The premise of the movie is great, acting is good, and everything else is well done. But the main character's personality was way off, which at first you'll be wondering, "Who would actually like this guy?". Near the end it makes sense... but then the final twist throws it all out the window.

I understand that this guy was seriously disturbed, but the problem is who would actually come up to talk to him the way he acts, and keep talking to him after he acts towards you, if you actually decided to come up to him.

The final twist, although it's a good one in some way, the movie would have made more sense if it didn't have it.
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Decent independent psychodrama
mwold24 November 2008
Decent but overrated dramatic thriller, film attempts to depict the spiraling out-of-control inner demons of a tormented artist. The problem is, not a single relationship illustrated on screen is believable, and plausibility appears to have been thrown out the window. The title character is so difficult to relate to making it's rather impossible to imagine any of the on- screen characters emotionally invested in him either. The conclusion is also fairly predictable; there are certainly enough clues provided from the get go to indicate exactly where the story is headed. Choosing to entirely suspend one's belief in the situations or the relationships, the film itself is well acted (especially by the leads) and manages to create some nice tension as the story unfolds. As a metaphorical feature there is some food for thought, and had the script been stronger, there's certainly potential here that could have been put to better use.
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Joel David Moore Busts Out of his Shell
gavin694229 September 2010
Call center worker by day, sensitive painter by night, Mason (Joel David Moore) is not all there. He has had emotional breakdowns many times in recent years... but now he has met Amber (Amber Tamblyn) and things seem to be looking up. Can he hold himself together?

Moore breaks out here. As both director and star, he strays away from the silly, nerdy, dorky guy roles we know him from. Here he is edgier, manic, violent at times... he strays into acting territory that should earn him attention from bigger names, maybe put him on a path towards Oscar.

Amber Tamblyn is a beautiful model, and perfect for the artwork featured here. The script is intelligent, with great insight into art, the idea of contrast and the construction of jazz music being harmony from discord. I'm sure there are deeper messages than I was able to pick up, but the writer gave this psychological thriller a smart wit and makes it a cut above the rest.

What is Adam Green's role in this film? He is listed as co-director, but this is clearly Moore's baby. I suspect Green was more of a support for Moore, helping him with technical stuff and boosting recognition for this one in the horror community... but I shouldn't assume.

As of this review, the film has been out three years with little buzz. Let me make some buzz right now: this is a film that you will love if you like thinking, mindbending films... some parts are deliciously ambiguous.
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Stay until the end
TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews22 August 2010
Mason is very shy. He isn't very comfortable with approaching others, though you can tell(from Moore's spot-on performance, that emphasizes that he doesn't know how to be around people, he isn't intentionally messing up; the nervousness and loneliness really come through... his talent was wasted in Avatar) that he does want to get into contact with others. His only real friend is Berkeley, who he's known since high school, who got him a job telemarketing, and who, while not a saint(no one is), does what he can to help him. Then one day, a girl sits next to our lead. Amber. She realizes that he paints(only people), and it isn't long before she begins posing for him, and a relationship develops between them. Not all is well, though. Are those nightmares he keeps having... or memories? This isn't for everyone. It's an indie flick, and when I say that it's a psychological thriller, I really mean that... don't expect chases, fights, or a fast pace. This is about the portrait(pun intended) of a recluse(not to be confused with "someone's idea of what everyone who doesn't have an active social life is like"), the gripping story, and the people within it. There is such humanity to our three main characters(and frankly everyone else in this). Not everyone will like or love them... however, you can't help but respond to them. They're as close as they come to being as real as if they actually were. Tamblyn has you falling head over heels in love with her, and not in that "wow, why isn't my girlfriend this perfect" kind of way, no, she has personality, and she really shines through as a real human being; she's very sweet, chatty and just plain fun, and in spite of the fact that you might not always get along with her, you have this feeling that she'll never be boring. Around the middle point, she cries, and I very nearly did the same(and I am extremely reserved, especially in that regard), out of sympathy for her. She is very underrated. All of the acting in this ranges from good to great. The humor is fitting, and comes off as natural. This takes a low-key, smart concept and goes for an appropriate execution, not throwing big-budget tricks in our faces to keep our attention. The editing and cinematography are amazing, and the lighting is excellent. They build the mood well. Subtlety is the name of the game here. Early on, the dreams do feel like they're rudely interrupting a drama, and the marriage of the genres isn't entirely without, shall we say, gentle nagging. With that said, this is well worth your time(if this appeals to you), and I implore you, make sure you catch the conclusion. It's impeccable. This is open-ended, providing food for thought and asking vital questions instead of providing answers. The music is well-chosen. I haven't watched Hatchet, also by Adam Green... I think I will, if I find it(not that I expect it to be like this). There is a bit of disturbing content, some partial female nudity and a little violence and moderate to strong language in this. The DVD comes with a trailer for this(that contains spoilers, save it until after) and a couple of other movies. I recommend this to anyone who likes the sound of what I describe here. 7/10
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The Upward Spiral
Jonny_Numb9 March 2008
I regarded "Spiral" with a bit of skepticism before watching: on one hand, I have always loved the "disturbed loner" films of Roman Polanski (see "The Tenant," which clearly had a huge bearing on this) and Lucky McKee ("May" and the Angela Bettis-directed "Roman"); on the other, I hated "Hatchet," co-director Adam Green's romp in derivative slasher excess. And while "Spiral" never achieves a level of Polanski-an delerium (few films can), it is an efficient little character study with some standout elements in its favor: first is an unexpectedly eerie performance from Joel David Moore (who also co-directed and co-wrote the script), the lanky mainstream comedic foil who takes a convincing dip into darkness as Mason, a lonely, asthmatic telemarketer who spends his spare time painting. His relationship with his boss and best (only) friend (Zachary Levi) is an interesting, off-kilter distortion of male bonding, and his courtship of a similarly lonely female (Amber Tamblyn) is beautiful in its own unavoidable awkwardness. While "Spiral" does build to a twist that would cheapen any other film, its inclusion here actually enriches the characters and all that has gone on before in a quietly innocuous way. And even though the script leaves a fair share of unexplained loose ends and underdeveloped backstories (the significance of Mason's parents is never explained) that may have rendered this a more complex and fulfilling ride, I can't say I didn't enjoy watching "Spiral" spin out of control. A fine, offbeat effort that's a refreshing alternative to what the genre is currently offering.

6.5 out of 10
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Excellent script, acting, movie.
Pwillikers602 July 2008
I bought Spiral because I saw Hatchet and loved every minute of it. However, this is nothing like Adam Greens extremely violent horror comedy. Spiral is about Mason(Joel David Moore) a reclusive telemarketer who's only friend is his boss Berkeley. At the beginning of the movie you get the idea Mason is so obsessed with a girl from a diner(who he paints)that he kills her. Then he mets Amber who is a nice girl who befriends Mason and is into the shy, painter type.Amber wants Mason to paint her and Mason starts to like Amber but only spirals into a frightening obsession towards Amber. With a great cast and great storyline there is nothing not to like about Spiral. While the plot thickens you become more and more curious about its secrets that leads you to a twist ending which makes this movie worth every minute of watching it. My vote 10/10
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Simply Awesome
rejxxx8 January 2019
This movie was a masterpiece of film and everyone should watch it!!!
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Decent, low budget film.
Dubstars3 August 2013
Spiral is worth a watch. The movie tells a story about an introverted young painter.

The movie is simple with some questionable acting, however the story is easy to follow and quite interesting. I'm happy to say that some scenes were really well done and quite intense.

The thing I found best about the movie was the timing and pacing. While it is not a fast movie, I think that the pacing of the scenes was good, keeping the audience engaged, but waiting to see the story unfold.

I enjoyed the music in the film. The frequent use of jazz in the film adds to the artsy feel.

This movie comes down to taste. I think the movie is well done, but may not keep everyone interested.

This movie may be for you if you want something that is easy to follow, interesting, and a little arty.

Maybe not for you if you are looking a deep and complex story or a high budget blockbuster.
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American Psycho meets the Machinist.
Valtresca11 September 2009
I actually liked this movie although it took me a little while to get into it. And some of the scenes were actually drawn out. I don't mind the strangeness of Mason. He is mysterious like Amber says an Enigma and that's one of the reasons she's attracted to him. Plus a lot of chicks really dig art and the guy is always sketching/painting. Their relationship may be an anomaly even in the real world which is filled with all kinds of unlikeable and withdrawn characters that still manage to find or maintain relationships. One of the problems I have with the plot is that it leaves too much left unexplained.

For instance. I would like to know if the blood in the sink was blood or paint. That could have completely cleared up any guilt of murder on Mason's part. Oil paint wouldn't wash off with regular soap and water, but neither would that much blood for that matter. so I'm. I am also not sure what happened to Amber. It never showed her body leading you to question if her murder is just in Mason's head or if it really happened. One of the quotes from the movie was Mason says how do you tell the difference which definitely reminds me of American Psycho starring Christian Bale. Similary both characters, Mason and Bale, believe they have committed murders that never actually took place.

The movie actually played out kind of like the Machinist, where you know something happened in this guys past and it may have involved murder. In fact the scene or flashback where Mason is carrying what appears to be a rug or carpet with a body rolled up into it are almost taken directly from the Machinist.

I think the directors could have brought closure at the end of this movie, but they chose to leave everything open ended. Mason was a mystery at the beginning of the film and still a mystery at the end. And we still don't know what happened to Amber, did she just not show up for work or was she dead? Or if any of the girls in Mason's past were real?
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