This cinematic enigma opens with reflections dissolving into one another on the surface of a lake. And like those merging images the film shows a distorted truth; an exotic fantasy punctuated with surreal dark humour. Aidan Gillen is Gerry, brother of the deceased, drowned John, the Irish owner of a Singapore hostess bar. He has travelled east towards his estranged in-laws, but most importantly away from hinted domestic trouble at home. Like last year’s Berberian Sound Studio, this is a complex experiment on evolving identity and the need to escape a damaged life.
While Peter Strickland’s film hid in the dark excitement of giallo, here Gerry runs from grief through a humid, post-colonial illusion. A snake bite acts as an hallucinatory shamanistic doorway: Gerry’s life becomes a sweat drenched delirium and peaks in a fever dream scene reminiscent of Miike. But themes also stray close to Houellebecq’s Platform. The East opens its legs to be exploited by sleazy, bloated white men. Dialogue is stilted and unnatural, at times monotone and strangely rhythmic, widening the separation between fiction and reality in which this challenging, disjointed film exists. [Alan Bett]
Mister John its released by Artificial Eyehttp://www.artificial-eye.com