21 December 2009 | vchimpanzee
Pretty good mystery, somewhat creepy
At the start of the movie, anthropology professor John is burying something. Could it be a body?
Dawna is in charge of a museum in an unspecified city which I suppose is in the United States (Baltimore is mentioned as the home of one character, but we don't know how far away it is). The architecture is nothing short of fabulous, in a contemporary style; the credits suggest it is really The Canadian Museum of Civilization.
Dawna met John when she needed him to verify the authenticity of an exhibit, though she is an expert on South American cultures, and with those credentials, it's hard to imagine what she wouldn't have known. John has spent time looking for artifacts in South America himself, going there with students.
Dawna's daughter Emily is in college but kind of irresponsible. She needs one more class, but it's too late to register. Since Dawna is friendly with John, she pulls some strings and gets Emily into his class.
Emily is fascinated and visits John's office to tell him so. He lends her notes from the classes she missed by registering late. Actually, Emily says she's fascinated by the subject matter, and she does draw conclusions that show she is very intelligent and has potential, but what she's really fascinated with is John.
Emily has a boyfriend Keith, but he's a bartender with little potential and little to offer when John can discuss intellectual topics with her. Keith gets angry and grabs her when she leaves his bar. Later, he seems obsessed.
John knows what he's doing with Emily is inappropriate but doesn't care; he tells her not to tell anyone. An interesting editing technique: Emily leaves John's place and the video fades out as almost the same scene is shown again fading in, except Emily is wearing different clothes. And this is repeated until four different outfits are shown.
John is very compulsive about his desk and his clothes. He seems nice, but he arranges his shirts in his closet just so. If anyone touches them or anything else, you get the impression he'll get mad. Also, he keeps imagining he sees his former girlfriends. They look like something out of a horror movie.
Emily doesn't show up for class. She was also supposed to meet her mother. The police give the usual response: she's an adult and has to be missing for 24 hours.
Can John help? Maybe. The crisis does seem to bring them closer together.
But Dawna is quite a good investigator. In fact, it's pretty amazing what she can accomplish.
Michelle Stafford and William Moses are quite good. And the writers really sound like they know ancient South American cultures. The classes and the discussions outside of class sound real, but then I don't know much about these cultures.
One giveaway this movie was filmed in Canada: a newspaper headline with the word "cheque". I still think this was supposed to be in the United States but don't recall any clues about where.
This is a pretty good mystery.