The film opens as police officers arrive at the scene to find an elderly woman lying in a pool of blood. Stunned and curious neighbors gather outside. The suspect has barricaded himself inside a house across the street, and he appears to have taken hostages. Two friends he had urgently telephoned earlier that morning arrive, but too late. As they and the neighbors – witnesses to the bizarre killing – try to come to grips with what has happened, they tell their stories to the detective in charge of the crime scene. In a series of flashbacks, Brad's tale begins to emerge. We see a man terribly at odds with the world around him. It's not so much that Brad goes crazy as that the world around him starts to appear somehow awry. He does not lose his sanity – he loses any sense of the world as sane. With him we enter an altogether stranger and more vivid reality and sense the horror and menace that lurk there. As we struggle to understand, the mystery only deepens. Flashbacks take us on a journey from a harsh land of raging cataracts and austere mountains, to a remote tribal world of archaic peoples and ancient faces, to an alienating urban landscape of artificial surfaces and glass skyscrapers, to a broken-down border town in Mexico, to a quiet neighborhood in San Diego, where a personal and family drama unfolds, intersecting with the terror and tragedy of a Greek play. Ultimately forced to quit the stage production he is starring in, Brad becomes fully possessed by the dark myth. The suspense increases as the movie flashes back from the tense standoff at the crime scene to the climactic events leading up to it. Finally the SWAT team moves into position. The decisive moment is at hand. But before they can close in, Brad delivers one more surprise.
|Irma P. Hall|