KEYHOLE (Guy Maddin). 105 minutes. Opens Friday (April 13) at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. See Times. Rating: NNNN
After a string of largely autobiographical films, Winnipeg auteur Guy Maddin returns with his most entertaining and accessible film to date.
A playful take on Homer's Odyssey, Keyhole follows mobster Ulysses Pick (Jason Patric) on a quest through the now haunted house he once owned to return to the bed of his wife (Isabella Rossellini).
Much like the epic poem, the film can be read in myriad ways, but it's this complexity that gives it its charm. Maddin wants the audience to have fun puzzling things out. At the same time, his reverential love for 1950s hardboiled noirs and the cheesy frights of William Castle productions is on display. It's all very far from conventional, and Maddin's bizarre visual style remains intact, but genre fans and the more literary-minded will find plenty to like.
Even toward the end, when the director lets his imagination run a bit too wild in some overly elaborate set pieces, his leading man always picks up the slack. In a role the perpetually boyish actor seems born to play, Patric commands every scene he's in and adds an extra level of wittiness to Maddin's jocular and delightful script.