Monday, September 14, 2015

Through the Looking Glass, Human Madness or an Evil Deity Awoken?

Halfway into Craig Griffith's "Through the Looking Glass," the artist (Paul McCarthy) is painting a life model (Roz Povey) in a pose that is supposed to suggest purity reaching up to the gods in search of meaning.  Unfortunately, the model just doesn't embody any of this.  Her demeanor suggests routine, her conversation is mundane, and her aura is of a throw-away existence.  This scene is key, as we are able to peg our artist's desires and current location in his voyage into madness.  In absolute  frustration, he eschews everything the model represents, and his bond to an evil deity is cemented.  Today we look at 2006's "Through the Looking Glass," written and directed by Mr. Griffith.  However irrelevant my initial take on the movie was, my first comment was the musing, "If Edgar Allan Poe had run with the Dorian Gray idea, this would be the story." Or perhaps a Lewis Caroll story after some opiates.
Set in a run down mansion in rainy Dorset, a struggling artist discovers a mysterious gift left at his front door. A mirror!  He is instantly captivated by it.  His guest arrives, a struggling author (Jonathan Rhodes).  Both are battling.  Our author has just failed at his marriage, and our artist is running from the commercialism that seeks to corrupt his artistic pangs.  In his studio, the haunted artist seems to slowly wind down the path of madness with every glance into his foreboding mirror.  Suddenly, all of his surroundings...human or inanimate, become his tormentors.  Watch closely, as this film is steeped with symbolism and metaphor, as the beautiful peacocks with their piercing and twisted cries suggests.
Is our artist having a bout of intense introspection, or a dive into madness?  You'll see.  Has the mirror opened a gateway into some ancient pagan evil, or is it a true reflection of an inner self ready to explode onto the screen?  As the artist is consumed, the movie turns quite horrifying.  What started out as a psychological thriller, also turns into a bloody horror story.  With his allegiances quickly attached to something ominous, the artist begins to act out at what he believes is an unworthy force...the meaningless existence of the irrelevant  lifestyle most of us have adopted.  If it is too late for him to turn back, the outcome will be......well let's just say the blood will flow bright red.  In harm's way are his buddy the author, and the model he is supposed to paint.   However mad the artist is, these two supporting characters are likable and we have no trouble identifying with their plights.
In an odd combination, "Through the Looking Glass" works well as a film that could be studied at UCLA's film school, or as a horror film at a horror film convention.  Tragic at times, suspenseful most of the time, bloody, and thought provoking....enjoy the ride.  Be warned, this is one you'll want to see again.  A second viewing will cause you to say, "Wow! I missed that the first go-around."  This film is available at   

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