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Monday, April 13, 2015

WINDSOR DRIVE -- Movie Review by Porfle

The visually exciting WINDSOR DRIVE (2015) is unlike any film I've seen in quite a while. I don't think I could handle many like it, but on the rare occasion one like it comes along, it's a fulsome and very welcome movie experience.

Tommy O'Reilly has a James Dean intensity as aspiring actor River Miller, who is haunted by the death of his beautiful girlfriend Jordana (Jillian Murray, BAD ASS). Did he kill her? Is that why his head is such a mental disaster area? The bits and pieces we're shown are teasingly unrevealing but we do see enough to understand that River is already off the deep end from his very first close-up.

It doesn't help when he rents a room in the quaint old Hollywood cottage of the equally quaint young couple Wilfric (Kyan DuBois), a slyly enigmatic soul with a pointy waxed moustache, and his shadowy Goth-belle paramour Ivy (Anna Gurji). Both seem to have strange designs on River but we're never sure if they're romantic or simply sick and manipulative.

River's fever-dream flashbacks of Jordana's death (is she the wrapped body we keep seeing him dragging across the floor?) sabotage his later relationships with pathetically-needy Brooke (Samaire Armstrong, IT'S A BOY GIRL THING, NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE) and unfaithful Ivy, and overshadow his budding love affair with sweet June (Mandy Musgrave), the secretary of a pitiless casting director he's desperately courting for a role.

But how much of this is real, and how much is just a twisted conglomeration of fact and fiction swirling through his fractured psyche? Multi-talented filmmaker Natalie Bible' has a field day directing and editing the timeline of his story in a stream-of-consciousness form that seems to have been cut into pieces and thrown into the air for the viewer to reassemble like a jigsaw puzzle.

Sometimes we'll see something as it happens (usually from someone else's point of view) and then see it replayed as River perceives it, in ways both dreamlike and nightmarish, fueled by guilt, in an endless loop of mocking repetition.

This sort of storytelling is tricky but Bible' manages to both intrigue us and keep us guessing as the pieces tumble haphazardly into place with a free-flowing combination of realism, impressionism, and surrealism, along with whatever else adds to the effect. Rather than the usual narrative it's more like a long musical piece meant to engage our emotions and excite the imagination.

Tommy O'Reilly is excellent as is the rest of the cast in bringing T.R. Gough's challenging script to life. The cinematography is endlessly eye-pleasing. Karsten Shreve's powerful musical score intensifies the film's impact at every turn.

Not everyone will like what the wildly imaginative Natalie Bible' is going for here--it's the kind of off-kilter experience that many movie watchers go out of their way to avoid. But I found WINDSOR DRIVE to be an intensely, immersively cinematic gem, and one of the best screen depictions of madness I've ever seen.

Runtime: 83 minutes
Format: 1:85
Genre: Thriller
Sound: Dolby SR
Country: USA
Language: English



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