Stay

on October 21, 2005 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
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A caring psychiatrist (Ewan McGregor) tries to save a patient (Ryan Gosling) who is threatening to commit suicide on his 21st birthday. But a series of strange occurrences and coincidences prompts the shrink to question if things are really as they seem. Like David Lynch's "Mullholland Drive," but to considerably less effect, "Stay" is interested in blurring the boundaries between reality and fantasy. Scenes fade quickly from one to the other; signifiers abound in the background; and the film's characters, including Naomi Watts as the doctor's artist girlfriend, get moved around like so many pieces on a chessboard. The intent is to rivet the viewer's attention, but the movie is so relentless in imposing its deliberately dazzling technique that audiences are liable to be annoyed instead. You may anticipate its 'surprise' ending, which cribs more than a little from the underrated 1972 TV movie "Welcome Home, Johnny Bristol," but even if you don't, it's still an illogical conclusion. Starring Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, Ryan Gosling and Bob Hoskins. Directed by Marc Foster. Written by David Benioff. Produced by Arnon Milchan, Eric Kopeloff and Tom Lassally. A Fox release. Drama. Rated R for language and some disturbing images. Running time: 98 min
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