A Life of Film + [2011]

Mysteria (2011)

Wonderfully atmospheric, inspired by Lynch's less esoteric efforts - if not quite as satisfying. The film is let down by a (suspiciously strange) lack of suspense, but it is still a worthwhile distraction for those who like a slowburning tale.

Just a couple of days ago I watched Black Limousine (or Land of the Astronauts), which, by the way, is fully outstanding. It's about a struggling composer who gets caught up in some heavy shit. It reminded my of this because Mysteria is about a struggling scriptwriter who gets caught up in some heavy shit. Moving on: I guess there's a reason this is Mysteria, and not Suspiria. This sort of psychowhodunnit affair is usually carried by a mixture of suspense and mystery, and indeed I do admire those types of movies for their ability to keep your imagination sitting on the edge of its seat. (Talking of the edge of your seat, À bout portant, man what an excellent thriller. It really hit the genre on the head, and honed that shit to utter perfection.)
Anyway, so yeah, suspense and mystery. It is an expectation that has been reinforced time and time and time again, and it is somewhat unsettling that Mysteria has almost none of it. Perhaps it is the offbeat editing or the lack of urgency, but events in this film just sort of happen and there is really no rhythm to any of it. So, surprisingly enough, not much suspense here. But then what about the mystery? It is fitting that the writer/director is from Switzerland, because the plot of this movie is a lot like their cheese. HAHA, that was a little joke I did there for you.
Maybe I'm just getting consumed by the monolithic fiend of mainstream media and slowly but surely my expectations are being twisted around so that I will enjoy piles of monstrous horse shit like This Means War, or maybe it's the fact that I'm just not all there in the head at the moment, but Mysteria just didn't make any fucking sense to me. I tried to explain it away, but every time I came up with something it was almost immediately followed by a 'ah, but wait' moment that rendered it useless. Worryingly, it wasn't the cool kind of didn't make sense, the kind that makes you feel stupid, but it was that other kind, the one where you go your face doesn't make sense. But that's totally OK. I enjoyed it regardless, it looks nice, it's a lovely little piece, a bit soporific (in a good way) held up mainly by pleasant aesthetics and some wonderful performances by the supporting cast.
And the supporting cast do deserve a mention, because they are excellent. Again, a lot like Lynch, this one has a number of interesting supporting characters who are all a pleasure to watch, and help to break up the monotonicity of the movie's singular concern.