Monday, November 22, 2010

On my own, watching movies

I'm going to be on my own for at least the beginning of the week as Ian's curling in a tournament. He'll definitely be curling tonight, tomorrow, and Wednesday; if they win on Wednesday they'll keep curling each night until they lose.

I took advantage of the time this evening to tidy up the great room and a bit of the kitchen so that I can take some pictures for you of the painting we've done. If it's sunny tomorrow afternoon I'll take the pictures then. There's still a lot to do but at least the main areas are done enough until we get more furniture and things for the walls.

I'm still a huge fan on Netflix and have been watching a lot of movies and documentaries. Most of them are interesting but kind of forgettable. One movie stayed with me: The Living and the Dead, a British horror movie. It isn't a gory horror movie, really... it's more of a psychological horror or a horrific tragedy, if that makes sense. The film focuses on three people: Daniel, his sick, bedridden wife Nancy, and their childlike, under-medicated schizophrenic son James.

All three live in a run-down, huge country mansion that they are on the verge of losing because they are out of money. Because of his wife's medical bills, Daniel must leave his wife and son and travel to the city. Normally he'd have a nurse come in to look after Nancy and James because James can't be trusted to even take his medication. But the nurse can't come in the day Daniel leaves so James is left alone to take care of himself and Nancy because Daniel has to leave. Because wants to take care of his mummy and to make her better, all on his own, he locks the door against the nurse. Things fall apart afterward as James unravels completely.

This is a dark film and it feels very claustrophobic at times because of the cinematography and discordant music. It's told in a strange sort of flashback-flashforward style where events from different timelines are mixed. The only way to distinguish between the timelines is by the lighting and condition of the house which mirrors Nancy's condition.

One key theme of the film is the lack of help or care given to people who have long-term illnesses and the toll that this takes on their loved ones. James should be in a care facility because he is incapable of looking after himself. Nancy should be in a hospital because she's clearly doing very badly. And James never should have been looking after Nancy, let alone left alone with her, but Daniel had no choice: there was no one else to do the job, and Daniel had to leave because their financial situation was dire.There's just no way out of this situation and that's what makes the events of this movie so horrific. That, and the knowledge that almost anyone could find themselves trapped in a similar situation where all the choices lead to very, very bad outcomes.

This is a very engaging, compelling, thought-provoking film and well worth your time.

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