Gerald Wright's Movie Coverage
SHADOWS MOVIE REVIEW (Senki)
Directed by: Milcho Manchevski
Running time: 120 minutes
Release date: January 30, 2009
Genre: Art/Foreign, Drama, Horror, Mystery, Thriller and Supernatural in Macedonian with English subtitles
Distributor: Mitropoulos Films
MPAA Rating: Not rated
The traditional ghost story has its roots in folklore. However, the style in classic horror films often employs characteristics from the romanticized filmmakers of the gothic tradition. Shadows is a horror film from Bavarian writer/director Milcho Manchevski. Manchevski works within this tradition, and adds interesting psychological themes.
The emphasis in Shadows shifts from focusing on the actions of the specter upon the victim, to the consciousness of the victim perceiving the action. This film frequently calls into question the reliability and mental stability of the protagonist. It also often calls into question social issues. The supernatural theme in the film often acts as an investigative ingredient.
Dr. Lazar Perkov (Borce Nacev) is young, good looking, has a beautiful but bored wife Gordana (Filareta Atanasova),a lovely house and a good job as a hospital physician. His life is so charmed, he is known as "Lucky". His problem is that he's always trying to live up to the expectations of others, such as his famous physician mother. When Lucky is involved in a life threatening car crash, and miraculously survives after extensive rehabilitation, his life takes a strange turn into the world of bizarre.
The film suddenly takes a hypnotic cinematic journey into surrealism when an assortment of strange people enters into Lucky's world: an old man with a infant living in his apartment building, a highly sexually active young woman who conducts acts of passion on the rooftop of the complex, an ancient old woman named Kalina (Ratka Radmanovic) speaking a forgotten dialect and a beautiful young woman Menka (Vesna Stanojevska) with a secretive sad past who has the hots for Lucky. What ties everything together in this "walking dead flick" is the message Lucky gets from nightmares: "Return what's not yours - Have respect".
Films like this are usually highly ambiguous in their descriptive dialogue, and realism is often of greater importance within this tradition than romantism, although not always. Themes of repression and guilt are featured frequently by the brilliant ensemble in Shadows.
Filmmaker Manchevski does a great job on displaying his characters' haunting conflicts based on their power. He immobilizes and terrorizes the audience in both a build up of highly intensive power of suggestion and with suspense.
The elements (such as darkness, being alone and unexplained creaks) lay a solid foundation and build to a solid fear induced adrenalin.
This eerie film is sure to grab your imagination.
FILM RATING (B+)