STAY (Marc Forster). 99 minutes. Opens Friday (October 21). For venues and times, see Movies, page 102. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Early in the game, Stay reveals, approximately, what kind of trick ending's in store, thus blowing off much of the power it's gained from our uncertainty. Are we watching a serial killer job, a supernatural?
The tale of a psychiatrist ( Ewan McGregor ) racing to prevent the suicide of a depressed art student with psychic powers ( Ryan Gosling ) offers sufficient twists and turns. But once the penny drops, they lose much of their force. About two-thirds of the way through, the story runs out of steam and we're left to amuse ourselves while waiting for the end.
The acting is amusing enough. Gosling (The Notebook) is every depressed student you've ever met: low-key, remorseful, brooding, with an occasional beatific smile. McGregor is thoroughly professional as the shrink. But neither role gives the actors much to play with.
So we watch technique. Director Marc Forster (Finding Neverland, Monster's Ball) has a fondness for brickwork and unusual extras - watch for the twinned and tripled women. But his real love is reality shifts, and he pulls every trick in the book. My favourite is the moving backdrop that should be static, but you may prefer the CGI shimmer.
If you're new to this sort of story, you'll admire the rigour that Forster has brought to his surprise ending. If not, you'll be mildly disappointed.