Stay (I) (2005)

R   |    |  Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Stay (2005) Poster

This movie focuses on the attempts of a psychiatrist to prevent one of his patients from committing suicide while trying to maintain his own grip on reality.

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  • Ewan McGregor and Bob Hoskins in Stay (2005)
  • Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts in Stay (2005)
  • Ryan Gosling in Stay (2005)
  • Ewan McGregor in Stay (2005)
  • Ewan McGregor and Ryan Gosling in Stay (2005)
  • Ewan McGregor and Janeane Garofalo in Stay (2005)

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18 April 2006 | finding-something
| Could Have Been Remarkable
While the direction is flawless, the art direction unparalleled, and despite Ewan McGregor providing another breathtaking and engrossing animation of character, the film is, unfortunately, fundamentally flawed. It's story is lazy.

Images will stay in your mind for months afterward. The wall of books, Sam's too short pant legs, the staircase that seems to have been built on its side, the film is nothing short of a breakthrough visually. It never really cuts, it's absolutely seamless from scene to scene. The special effects are truly special. The movie is absolute eye candy, and shot totally unconventionally, breaking the 180 degree rule almost constantly to brilliant affect.

First, how the story works. The way the narrative unfolds, the story itself becomes a kind of character, and a very good one at that. Sam is a wealthy psychiatrist, seemingly beginning to break down, prone to bending the rules of the trade, while Henry, a patient, is undeniably a mess mentally. As a result, we see the events through the eyes of, well we're not sure. Probably one of these two characters. This is the gimmick-going-for-genius-but-fails of the film, the audience is only ever as sure of anything as either of the main characters seem to be. We plunge with them down to the depths of their ever increasing madness. We accompany them on their journey, trying to make sense of an utterly senseless world.

Now, how it doesn't work. The twist is just not tight enough. If you're going to write a story where ultimately nothing happens, then the twist better be brilliant, I mean perfect. Here it is not. While it is interesting and complicated and even good, it pales in comparison to the other components of the film. It fails at any psychological or philosophical profundity, and fails as a rewarding narrative. The story alone, I'd only give 3 stars. So, while I'm unsure just how this movie ever got made based on its story, I am glad that it was. A true treat for the eyes and the imagination.

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