Dischord

2003, Movie, NR, 102 mins

Review

DISCHORD
starstarstarstar
A pretentious metaphysical mystery that wants to be all about art, inspiration and the tangled landscape of the human heart, but gets dragged down by poor story development, some dreadful performances and a lot of deeply deep dialogue. Alternative musician Gypsy (Annunziata Gianzero) emerged from the streets to wow the music world with her soulful, improvisational violin virtuosity. She made a successful album, married dour, Yanni-esque Lucien (Andrew Borba), who discovered her, and contributed a track to his album, "Inspired." Everyone's whispering that her contribution made "Inspired" a hit, and Lucien clearly believes them; Gypsy, on whom the burden of talent lies lightly, sacrifices music for marriage and abruptly cancels her world tour and packs away her fiddle. The press whips itself into a frenzy over Gypsy's "disappearance," but she's simply retreated with Lucien to the isolated Cape Cod house where he intends to work on his new album. Into this strained domestic situation comes Lucien's estranged, younger half-brother, Jimmy (Thomas Jay Ryan), who invites himself for an open-ended visit and wreaks havoc with his drunken outbursts, sullen needling and general boisterousness. The brothers, we learn, are virtual strangers bound by dark family history. Their mother died gruesomely when they were children; she "fell" on a carving knife after confessing that Jimmy was the product of an extramarital affair, and both boys were banished by their father. Jimmy, the only witness to his mother's death, went to mental institution, Lucien to boarding school. What we know, but Lucien and Gypsy don't, is that Jimmy beat his girlfriend to death on the drive up from Boston and dumped her body in a nearby river. As Gypsy tries to keep Jimmy out of Lucien's hair and has a series of heartfelt conversations with a nameless beachcomber (Rick Wessler) who may be a ghost, tensions in the house build to the breaking point. First-time feature writer, director, producer and editor Mark Wilkinson wrings phenomenal production value from what was clearly a minimal budget, and attracted some experienced performers, including HENRY FOOL (1997) star Ryan and veteran character actor Dick Bakalyan, the heavy in many early Roger Corman pictures (ironically, his performance as a detective is just awful). Unfortunately, the mystery isn't mysterious and the characters are caricatures; the wintery New England landscape is the most striking thing about the film, but it's not interesting enough to justify watching it for 100 minutes. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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