I have always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with David Lynch. While I love the look and feel of his films, I truly hate his inability to tell a coherent story. It isn’t so much that I think that he can not tell a story, it is that he purposely chooses not to. And while this style has been quite successful for him, I personally feel that his films that rely more on a strong narrative structure are his best. Watching director Pericles Lewnes’ (Redneck Zombies) film LOOP, I had a chance to see a film that should cause Lynch fans to take notice, regardless of whether you fully grasp the story that Lewnes is attempting to tell or not.
You don’t run into many people who openly profess to being a rat lover. My girlfriend Anna is, as well as loving a host of other creatures that are commonly loathed by anyone who isn’t an entomologist. It is a relatively lonely existence for a rat lover, constantly trying to explain to the public at large that rats are both highly intelligent and exceptionally clean. They are even capable of learning and recognizing their names. Now most people simply nod their heads and tune out at such information, not wanting such truthiness to invade the territorial bubble that is their brain. But I submit to you dear reader, that there are far fewer moments more enjoyable to witness then the first meeting of two rat lovers.
It starts as a simple spark in their eyes, a recognition of intelligence if you will, yet it quickly washes across their body, causing a distinct nervous center reaction in which all the muscles in their bodies relax and the phrase “Finally! Someone who gets it!” flashes across their otherwise furrowed brow. And for that brief conversation, all is right with the world.
I had the distinct pleasure of viewing such an event at The Flyway Film Festival. I was introduced to Pericles Lewnes and we quickly struck up a conversation about movies and in particular his career. I hadn’t been able to see a screener of LOOP before the festival and he was generous enough to run out to his car and grab one for me. While he stepped out I had the chance to show Anna a bookmark made to help market the film, which just so happened to be adorned with one of Pericles’ pet rats. Anna and Pericles instantly had a connection and proceeded to discuss rats for the next ten minutes, blithely unaware of my presence. Considering Anna is mute shy with anyone she hasn’t known for anything less then a decade, it was a conversation of epic length.
Which leads me to this horrible segue into LOOP, a self-proclaimed art installation that plays more like a self-inflicted fever dream. High on stylization and deliberately withholding of a coherent linear narrative, LOOP is likely to frustrate as many as it titillates. Being deliberately obtuse is rarely seen as a positive trait in films, yet half the fun with LOOP is simply trying to decipher who represents what before you are given the big reveal, though the existence of a reveal is arguable as well.
But what struck me as the most fascinating aspect of the film is how it is likely to mean something different for each individual who views it. While the basic story is about one man’s struggles in coping with the events of 9/11, the characters in the film can easily represent a host of differing viewpoints and feelings, resulting in a stunningly fluid dynamic with seemingly endless depth that will result in a vastly different film depending not only on who is watching LOOP, but by what kind of state they are currently in. I don’t know if Lewnes planned for this or if it is merely a happy accident, though I believe it was planned, but whatever the case may be the end result is a rich and unique viewing experience that is as fascinating challenging as it is frustratingly enjoyable.