This movie is a rare breed in Hollywood. Robin Williams as the main character gives a haunting performance in this brilliantly photographed, moving quest to save his wife from purgatory. There are no words to describe the feelings that are evoked by the moody colors and breathtaking scenery.
This is a movie that will get under your skin or leave you wondering what this was all about. I found it strangely delightful to watch. Most of all I could not get enough of the stunning photography, moody and powerful.
He encounters a spiritual guide along the way and it is interesting to see how the direct results of his own past actions are revealed to him on his journey. Reincarnation and enlightenment are topics woven into the fabric of this movie. Yet, this movie is all about exploring the catholic condemnation of the suicide committed by his wife. Taking your own life is considered the ultimate, unforgivable sin.
You will see Dante's inferno come to life, a husband consumed by guilt, tortured by love. It shows the devastating effect of their mother's suicide on her two teenage children and the family. Their struggles to try to come to terms with unimaginable tragedy. Magically, in the end love triumphs and he reaches her through her beautiful paintings that progressively became darker as she fell into a deep, dark depression.
Expect inspired, gifted story telling. There are scenes that are as psychologically gripping like the shower scene in Bates motel, but on an entirely different level. Without a doubt, it is the many subtle undercurrents in this movie that keep you enthralled. Although I have to say there is a certain amount of visual and psychological overload, which makes the movie even more enjoyable the second time around. The crossing of the river, straight out of the Egyptian book of the dead, but with a literal interpretation of medieval religious art is one of most fascinating scenes.
In a way it is the archetype, a dark and spell binding tale of one man's love for his woman. He did her wrong and now he literally goes to hell and back to save her. A story about second chances and love that endures beyond the physical realm.
If you enjoy a visual romp through the catholic interpretations of hell throughout the centuries and see for yourself with great satisfaction the torture brought unto souls who have sinned, this may be a movie for you. I loved all the undercurrents, the mish mash of faiths and ideologies, new age enlightenment, the archetypes, the dreams and the magic of it all.
It was intriguing to follow his quest, which took him from beautiful meadows to the dark side of desperation back up to the fun, entertaining idea of heaven. The meadow scenes were so beautiful you just wanted to stay there and the clever scenes in heaven were light hearted but thought provoking.
You may never have heard of this movie, it bombed the moment it hit the theatres, probably because the genre was too far from Robin Williams normal light hearted entertainment fare. This movie is a mature subject matter and I would not take my children to see this. I would consider viewing this movie with a teen, if I felt he/she was mature enough to later discuss the ramifications of this movie.
If you love truly stunning photography and a movie that is one part dead on realistic about how we live our daily lives and one part magical with thought provoking exchanges I would highly recommend this movie to you. It is a visual/audio treat to watch on an HD TV with surround sound.