Posted on 7/07/08 08:13 PM
'05s Stay, Directed by Marc Forster and Screenplay by David Benioff; Starring Ryan Gosling, Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, Bob Hoskins and Janeane Garofalo.
"Stay with us, Stay with us Henry."
With the sound of rubber gliding on a highway, us viewers are stuck like claustrophobics, in-between rubber and metal. The viewer's point-of-view, is inside of a tire. Suddenly a burst.. then a spark. You've just witnessed the first 5 seconds of the film; a car wreck. You experience one of the most creative ways to show-off a car crash, in film history (in my opinion). Enter, Henry Letham... a mysterious figure, who seems to have come out of this accident, unscaved.
As Henry walks towards the camera, there's a smooth transition to the next scene. Meet Sam Foster (Ewan McGregor), a man in his 30s, or so it seems.. a man, who like most smart people living in a city, is shown riding a bike to work. After Sam arrives and heads into his office, we see a figure standing by a window, awaiting an arrival; but not from Sam. As the figure turns around, we see that it is Henry, and to find out, he's not so happy that Sam is there.
Henry: "Who the fuck are you?"
Sam: "I'm Dr. Sam Foster.."
Here we find out that Sam is not his personal psychiatrist, but a substitute "shrink" as he calls him. Henry is not happy that his previous doctor, Dr. Beth Levy (Janeane Garofalo) has given up on him. As Henry gets calmed down, he and Sam start to talk; slowly, Sam gets Henry to talk about the accident, and why he thinks it's his own fault. Henry pushes things to an end, as he mentions something about hail, and needing to go home before it starts. Here the camera slowly lifts away from Henry, and looks out the window, where we see Sam and what seems to be his girlfriend Lila Culpepper (Naomi Watts), sitting on a bench.
(Note: this movie doesn't cut from scene to scene like most movies; the scenes flow, and transfer in on eachother. So you may see a character in a completely different place, but out of nowhere, they appear somewhere else.)
After a small conversation on the bench. It starts to hail, and what you thought was real, turns to question. "How did he know that?" you ask? You don't know.. and possibly may never find out. That is what the beauty of this film is, it forces us to ask plenty of questions and to ponder dozens of theories. I'm trying not to give anything away, because if I let even one single part of this film slip through my fingers, it'll ruin its mysteriousness for you.
This movie is simply about a man involved in a car accident, who feels guilty of the outcome and forced to do whatever it takes to receive forgiveness.
"Your troubles will cease and fortune will smile upon you."
David Benioff (Writer of Stay) really wrote a touching movie about coming to terms with one's guilt.. and learning to forgive, before being able to rest assured. Be open minded when watching this movie, it's very complex, and has many moments that are left wide open for theories and discussion.
Marc Forster (Director of Finding Neverland) directs a lucid like journey through a man's head. Each scene is filled with beautiful colors, and tied in together so smoothly, that you almost love the movie right away for the cinematography. And I could never forget the wonderful score written up by Asche & Spencer. The music is almost as distorted as Henry's own view on reality... very sticky stuff. It stuck in my head for months until I finally found the soundtrack... now I can listen to each scenes' theme. This music is so greatly matched with this movie, that I could close my eyes, put on the soundtrack, and watch the movie in my head. Great stuff.
To those of you IMDb-heads, ignore the bad reviews, they simply didn't get it for it's masterful storytelling, and beautiful imagery.
Henry Letham: "Do you know the Tristan RÍveur quote about bad art? It's "bad art is more tragically beautiful than good art 'cause it documents human failure."
So I'm closing, let me say.. You will be shocked. You will be moved. You will be confused. And most importantly, you will be thinking of this film years after each viewing.
Stay is #2 on my list of favorite movies, right under Eternal Sunshine, and if you watched that and appreciated it like I did.. you'll love Stay, because it'll stay with you for years and years.
10 out of 10 stars,
Quotes from IMDb.com, The Internet Movie Database.