March 7th, 2006

Fishy Circumstances

Mirrormask

The counter-tenor had already seen the movie twice, but for us four, it was the first time. Mirrormask only opened in the UK on Friday. The ICA art house theater - located right on St. James Park - astoundingly skipped previews entirely and went straight to the opening credits. We slipped into our red velvet seats just in time.

The movie is a collaboration between Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, so I've been intrigued about it for quite a while now; it was also a very appropriate movie to see in the company of Serial Diners. In the way of international movie releases, the movie came out on DVD in North America before it reached screens in the UK, yet it had played in few enough places that I had not actually read much in the way of reviews before seeing it.

The framing plot was fairly cliché - young woman anxious about mother's ailment and life-threatening operation - but so much about it wasn't. The dream logic of the setting and its interactions was lovely, uncertain streets and half-defined buildings. The visuals has moments of the extraordinary - I particularly loved the fish. It was a movie with a great deal of humor, including a great moment with a possibly charmed chicken. The journeys through the setting were sometimes vague, justified by the core quest of how the main character can take control over her own dreams. The plot sufficed, but it was not the movie's greatest strength. The visuals and some of the incidental characters were the highlights: I particularly liked the confusable riddling sphinx and the monkeybirds. The lessons in how susceptible books are to their readers' good will was quite cumulatively satisfying as well.

Afterwards, we ran into friends of C.E.'s, the counter-tenor and a harpsichordist. The counter-tenor assured us that we'd get even more out of the movie on further viewings. I'm tempted to find out if he's right.