Doorways And Meander (2010)

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Laura Benson
Laura Benson
Colleen Irene Boag
Colleen Irene Boag
Marion Dunham
Marion Dunham
Celeste Marie Martinez
Celeste Marie Martinez
Edgar Muņiz
Edgar Muņiz
Review by Ginose
Added: January 10, 2011
Let me say that I'm all for surrealist film, as is evident by my constant dry-humping of Lynch and Suzuki films, but that's not to say I got to see movies just because I expect them to be weird. That's just silly. Weird and avant-garde/surrealist cinema are hardly ever synonymous terms, nor should someone expect them to be. It's not difficult to make a surreal film without it being, well, absurd, and it's done, quite successfully, all the time. You can also, most DEFINITELY make a weird film without it being in any way "surreal". The differences between the two are immense.

Tonight's feature... stands on an unsettling ground between the two. It's certainly a surreal film, but not in such a way that it's surreal moments are weird, or even break the overall flow of the film; however, it IS weird, but not simply because of it's surrealistic elements. Allow me to begin with what it's all about...

Meander is a young man in college, or, he was. At the moment he is just wandering the desert, killing people foolish enough to offer him a ride and doing unspeakable things to wounded animals. This may seem like an alarming progression, but, truly, if you follow Meander's life over the last few months, the transition is nothing, if not gradual. His life has been going on an awkward downward spiral, lately, and, instead of having that stupid "what does it all mean" conflict that most mean have in unsuccessful lives or relationships, he simply decides to get away from it all and wander the desert.

Not to say he doesn't have OTHER reasons, but to reveal much more of the plot would certainly not benefit you, the reader, in any way.

Seems like a dry premise, eh? Well... honestly, it kind of is. But, as unremarkable as the story may seem, the film more than makes up with it in its style and sheer originality. Truly, in a word void of ideas "Doorways and Meander" certainly knows how to spice up our cinematic life without much more than an interesting story and a rather fun and impressive way to tell it.

It all comes off a little arthouse at first: Chapter-heads, sans dialogue wandering scenes, rarely expanded back-story and the like; as the film progresses, however, this all becomes a bit unimportant in the grand scheme of things. As the story is explained, so is Meander himself, and it all becomes much more relevant. It handles the subjects of relationships and maturity rather... well, maturely, and that's a refreshing turn of pace compared to all these stupid hipster schlockfest that assume any twenty-something is a stupid and obnoxious as Michael Cera.

The film also does a great job of fooling the viewer into following the story rather than the actual plot, which is something I don't expect much from newer directors in this day and age so, ya know, color me impressed.

The talent on display here is... pretty sparse. There isn't a lot of acting going on, overall, but, what there is, is pretty damn straight-forward. I couldn't see myself complaining about the performances, overall, as phoned-in as some of the minor characters seemed to be.

My complaints, however, do have a bit to do with the films style: it tends to shy away from the more graphic aspects of film in favor of a more visual style which I found extremely tedious (ever seen a REALLY boring sex scene? How about one that's relevant to the plot, as well? Yeah...), but to each his own on that one, as I'm sure there are plenty that like that... sort of... thing. An unforgivable sin of film, in my opinion, is to under-mind violence, in all forms, regardless of how implied it gets. This is only a usable format if you TRULY have a reason to keep violence off display (thematically, not just to make it more friendly), and this one really chokes me hard in that department. We get to witness several explicit murders, beatings and rapes, but all through quick-cuts and distance-shots. I don't understand the reason for even displaying the violence if it's not actually going to BE on display... that's acting like a cheese-merchant who keeps the good stuff in a box, far away from the sweaty customers... why?

Still, those complaints aside, I had fun with the flick overall. It was nothing phenomenal, and I don't think I'll be watching it any time soon (still wanting to see its sister film, though), but I did enjoy it, and I'm still amazed how impressed I can be by TRUE indie filmmakers in this day and age.

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