The Scribbler
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The Scribbler

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Movies have always found which sources of material and other forms of entertainment. Novels ranging from popular fiction classic literature have found a renewed audience once condensed into a movie. In many ways, comic books have provided the mythology is our society and have often been views as the inspiration of numerous flicks. Now, the somewhat more mature successor to the comic, the graphic novel, has been increasingly important in what makes its way to the cinema. Although my knowledge of popular graphic novels is far from as encyclopedic has been the silver age of comic books, but I have noticed one trend that I found interesting. When an independent filmmaker’s focuses his interest on some of the more esoteric graphic novels results may not be spectacular box office or even overwhelming critical praise, it is almost certain to be thought-provoking. The case in point is a recent offering in this category, ‘The Scribbler’. This is the kind of film that may require multiple viewings to fully understand the points being made by the filmmaker. John Suits working off of a graphic novel by Dan Schaffer has crafted fascinatingly twisted story of people coping with various forms of mental illness. I have seen some comments apply to this film, but rather derogatory nature. Many site convolution to the storyline and a disconnection in the character development. I would suggest any who come away with thought such as this that they re-watch the film, at the considering some of the aspects of the story that unnecessary to properly portray the characters.

Suki ((Katie Cassidy), is a young woman who has been diagnosed as suffering from multiple personality disorder. He condition becomes so out of control that she is committed to a mental health facility. The doctor in charge of the treatment, Dr. Sinclair (Billy Campbell), comes to the conclusion that the only potential to help her is an experimental procedure known as the ‘Siamese Burn’. Fundamentally, a form of electroshock version, the purpose of this exceptionally painful treatment is to systematically destroy the alternate personalities, leaving only the dominant one remaining. After the treatment is completed Suki is remanded to a halfway house, Juniper Towers for continued observation. Each of the young women residing there has been diagnosed with different mental disorder. Collectively, this apartment house is the embodiment of the DSM-IV. Behind every apartment door is another outpatient with their own expression of their mental illness. One of the first one she encounters is Emily (Ashlynn Yennie), who manifests a deep-seated pathological fear against of clothing. Considering she is a very attractive young woman, no one seems to mind too much. Suki is taken aside the one of the older residents, Cleo (Gina Gershon), who has an obsession with snakes and dresses as if she picked out her wardrobe central costuming’s section devoted to gypsy fortune tellers. At the story like this needs a nymphomaniac to ensure the ‘R’ rating that will bring in the teen viewers. This archetype is filled by Bunny (Sasha Grey) was in the habit of wearing Halloween quality rabbit ears at all times. One of the men notes that she won’t remove them, even during sex. Not that that eccentric quirk lessons his desire.

When the film opens, Suki is being interrogated by the police. She is dressed in an outdated Halloween costume; a leotard the skeleton painted on it. The police involvement is a result of inhabitants of the halfway house dying off at an alarmingly steady rate. One factor about Suki that begins the come out is that she has an exceptionally high IQ and an inquisitive nature that allows her to see past the eccentricities surrounding her and realize that something evil is occurring. The main personality that Suki manifest is referred to as ‘Scribbler’, because of a compulsive need for a pen and paper, so my hands can twitch scribbling lines on the paper. This persona, or alter, refuses to speak, communicating only by writing backwards. These initial seems as builders Suki’s introduction to the halfway house served as a very economical means to establish the tone of the film. There is always a potential in the case like this, that the protagonist is an unreliable narrator. A typical symptom of multiple personality disorder is that each alter has a different perspective of reality and typically knows only a slice of what is really going on. For some additional proof of the surrealistic nature of the film, there is a talking dog was for the Cockney accent. The viewer must be circumspect with regard to trusting any point of view.

One of the residents, Alice (Michelle Trachtenberg), who is extremely over possessive, admonishes Suki about the stairways being dangerous. Like a soothsayer the classic tragedy, Alice’s warning sounds overly melodramatic, but, Alice has claimed the stairway as her domain. Besides, Suki has a very deep-seated phobia about being confined in an elevator. For her, there seems to be no alternative but to face the unknown in the dank stairwell. Apparently, this is a coed facility. Suki’s ex-boyfriend Hogan (Garret Dillahunt), inhabits the apartment across the hall from her. Apparently, Hogan is not beset with grief over the breakup with Suki. The door to his apartment should be replaced with one that revolves to accommodate the constant stream of female residents that regularly visit him. As the story proceeds, Suki finds that she is in a ‘10 Little Indians’ scenario. Once a technique embraced by classic murder mysteries, picking the cast off one by one, has found itself a staple in the majority of teen slasher flicks. In this movie, the unreliability of what is seen and said shrouds the events in a mystery, as steadily manifests as a psychological thriller.

With the scenario such as this, the subject matter demands that the film be disjointed and the character development anything but straightforward. The filmmaker is dealing with madness, numerous forms of insanity that has been concentrated in one location. You might think that the apartment house is overly dark and dilapidated. After living most of my life in New York City, this is an accurate portrayal of many such structures, especially one that was conducive to be used as a mental health halfway house. Each of the characters represents a different aspect of the human personality that is gone awry. Out of control the libidinous activity to the compulsion to stake out an area such as the stairway as one’s personal sanctuary, the building is in some way a modern bedlam, albeit without the overt torture. The filmmaker has carefully crafted an atmosphere that is deliberately disconcerting. There were trappings that look as though they could be found in a normal setting, but they are twisted in such a fashion that everything seems out of place. The movie does provide an atmosphere that is innately unsettling, taken to the point where the surrealistic characters almost seem to belong. Suki may be concerned with battling her own demons, but as she notices the rate of disappearances, she comes to realize that not all of what demons are internal. I admit that I have not encountered the graphic novel, but based on similar ones that I have read this film does capture the essence of the dark surrealism embraced by many such stories. A couple of generations ago, this would’ve been called, ‘Trippy’, imaginative that does not begin to describe the proceedings.

The cast of this film is incredible. From Eliza Dushku portraying his psychiatrist to the appearance of one of the most popular character actors on the scene today, Garret Dillahunt, each cast member seems to have been meticulously chosen to apply their talents to best bring out the a character. Ms. Gray had previously been known as a star in the adult film industry. After portraying the lead character in Steven Soderbergh ‘Girlfriend Experience’, she has been proven herself as a mainstream actress with considerable potential. Portraying the character afraid of close may seem like an odd thing to ask of an actress, but considering Ashlynn Yennie has thought in both of the ‘Human Centipede’ flicks. It’s good to see her I have a role that actually requires some thought and its presentation. Many may recognize the name Kate Cassidy as one of the leading cast members in the CW’s ‘Arrow’. With closely cropped badly dyed blonde hair and lip ring. She is all but unrecognizable. A considerable acting ability shines through holding much of this film together. This is an interesting movie that is visually fascinating that will definitely mess with your mind.

Posted 10/29/2014

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