The latest film from Guy Maddin is one of the most disappointing movies I have seen in some time. Keyhole (2012) is a dreamscape haunted house gangster movie that does not seem to mesh. There seems to be too much dissonance between the genres meshing the film never seems cohesive. It gets better as you keep watching but not enough to enthrall you.
Ulysses (Jason Patric) is the head of a gangster crew who is meeting him at his old house, which is haunted. Ulysses is caring an unconscious woman over his shoulder and also dragging a bound and gagged man. These two people will help Ulysses investigate his past. To do this he must go through ever room in the house.
The film opens with the gangsters shooting their way into the house. A line in the film is, “Those who are alive face me. If you are dead face the wall.” This line really gives the viewer perspective and tone of the film, which is absurd. This absurd aspect to the film might explain the bad acting as purposeful. Jason Patrick never speaks a believable line in the film. Even if the bad acting was intentional it was the first stumbling block in the film. I could not get past it. The bad acting kept me out of the film. Except for Isabella Rossellini and Udo Keir who both give good performances, as one would expect from these great actors.
It was surprising to see this film as less idiosyncratic compared to Guy Maddin’s other films. Even though this film is shot in black and white there is not much contrast between the black and white, which has a bland effect on the image. This movie just seems lack-luster compared to his other films such as: The Saddest Music in the World (2003) or Brand Upon the Brain (2006). Both of these movies have a look to them that one might think they were made 60 years ago.
Keyhole has some interesting parts to it but never seems cohesive. The film was hard to follow, this added to me not caring about the characters in the film. I cannot recommend this film, even to fans of Guy Maddin. The only time I felt the movie really having a hold on me was towards the end when Keyhole starts to act like a silent film. If the entirety of the film acted like a silent movie it might have been more enthralling.