Published Jun 19, 2008Guy Maddin turns in his most entertaining movie in years certainly his best since Heart of the World, the crazed short that revived his career at the dawn of this decade. Its not nearly that level of a powder keg but in its genial way its deliciously acid in its observations on, and wilful distortions of, the directors hometown.
As in Maddins last two films, hes playing himself and he narrates the story of how he wants to escape the Peg but just plain cant; it has something to do with the pull of his mother, and the family hairdresser shop, and primal forces in the land and the essential corruption of political life in the city. Hes bitter at the mangling of local hockey into a bargaining chip for the powerful and the vanishing of local landmarks but hes careful to measure his spleen venting with fanciful revenge.
Wonderfully fetid "memories of his favourite dank haunts jostle for room with living dead hockey teams, while local bylaws that seem more suited to a Lovecraft collection are administered by bureaucrats with one foot in something hypocritically seedy.
As always, the masters early cinema fetish is put to droll and guilt-ridden use, as sexual regret gets impossibly confused with the political quagmire of the city. His fondly repulsed recollections of a three-level, gender-split swimming pool must be seen to be hilariously disbelieved.
Maddin is generally overrated as an artist, when hes mostly a nutty entertainer Tim Burton gone North, and with way better referents. But here its easy to see why hed get such treatment. For sheer dislocating weirdness, Maddin has few equals, either in purity of intent or in fanatically detailed execution. (Maximum)