Friday, January 25, 2013

My Review of New Hampshire Indie Film The Sensation of Sight

Here's the review I wrote some time ago or the movie The Sensation of Sight, by New Hampshire's own Either/Or Films:

The opening shot thrilled me--for a rather personal reason. I recognized the scene as the one that's been fascinating my brother and me since we were kids. It's an old stone barn we used to drive past on the way to visit our grandfather.
Photo: moosedog studio

After admiring the barn, I realized that nothing was really happening. Nothing much, anyway. I waited while the movie's dawn turned to daylight around the barn and the morning mists burned off. I began to wish I hadn't bought it.

But it gets better. We meet a man named Finn (David Strathairn) and watch as he tells his wife he's going away. Finn seems to be tortured and have a driving need to search for some sort of answer. His message is ambiguous and almost confusing--as it should be.

In another scene, two guys come together to wash cars, and they're discussing the fact that one is working and the other is not. But there are three guys there, and the third one isn't working, either. And he's wearing a suit. I wondered why. And I wondered why, in the age of the internet, Finn decides to go-to-door selling encyclopedias.

Eventually I learned that the third guy is a ghost. It's not that this is a `paranormal' movie. It's just that Finn's burden of unresolved tragedy is as real to him as any physical presence could be. The people around him can't see the ghost--most of them, anyway. What they can see, can touch, are the encyclopedias.

Finn is not glamorous. He's not fabulous. He's not even successful or collected or sexy, at least in the classic sense. He's real. In fact, he's so real, so imperfect, so nakedly human that I relate to him. I identify. I feel.

"The Sensation of Sight" contains no pat answers. It depicts life, complete with anxieties and uncertainties. But it leaves us with a sense that we need not be its victims: we can be its participants.

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