(M) Shock DVD/BD

I tend to prefer films that don’t spoon-feed and don’t telegraph every emotion. Films that ask questions that don’t necessarily have answers and films that present us with ideas to discuss. Love is the sort of film that I really love.

Written and directed by William Eubank, it is a fascinating look at what it means to connect with each other in meaningful ways: how we live, love and dwell on earth. Some may say this is a cinematic exercise that over-reaches and falls short. Personally, I would rather watch a movie that tries very hard to coalesce into much more than the sum of its parts than one that gives pat answers and triteHollywoodendings.

A simple story intentionally told in a manner to make the viewer think, we are first presented with the story of a soldier caught under the dark cloud of the Civil War. The soldier is given the opportunity to witness the extraordinary discovery made by another Regiment. It’s a fragment of a story that at first doesn’t make sense.

More than a century later a lone astronaut, Lee Miller (Gunner Wright), aboard an International Space Station becomes stranded in orbit when he loses contact with Earth.

The viewer’s assumption is that something catastrophic has caused this disconnection.

As he makes sense of the solitary confinement he finds himself in, Lee slowly questions his sanity and wonders what to do.

The film plays out with Miller coping with solitude (on a magnitude unique in human experience; not only is he alone, but there is no hope that he will ever be anything but alone again, surrounded by an eternal vacuum).

During his years of isolation he discovers a diary written by the narrator of the opening Civil War sequence. Eventually he is gripped by hallucinations and then the movie reaches its climax, connecting all these parts together in a kind of cosmic crescendo.

If the film is about anything it is about connection: how connections and relationships define us as humans and how conversely the lack of them can isolate.

As a film, it is much like something Terence Malick would make, or even the work of Stanley Kubrick. And the story is somewhat like the recent indie film starring Sam Rockwell, Moon.

Love’s strength is in its haunting visuals. It’s hard to shake the rotating camera sequences aboard the space station, its strange old-school computer graphics that blink and splutter as they communicate with Miller and the slow motion tracking shots of the Civil War skirmish.

In much the same way I found it hard to connect with Malick’s Tree Of Life on first viewing, this film is similarly confounding. This is in part due to its structure, but in the end the strength of this film is its ability to convey emotion through complex visual metaphors and amazing composition.

A soundtrack by Angels and Airwaves is as important as the visuals in delivering a kind of symphony of music and vision.

The imagery is stunning. Take the trip, experience Love, but leave yourself open to being confounded, bemused and transformed.

Adrian Drayton


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