Have you ever watched a film, almost in a study mode because you are trying to figure it out? Better yet, have you ever seen a film that you watch all the way thru and are not really sure of what you just witnessed? Welcome to Motion Sickness, Shem is a Jewish (I guess) an ex student who tried to be a rabbi who seems to have this inability to control his mind and thoughts and they seem to get the best of him. The battle seems to be behind his upbringing vs. his lusts and urges. Soon Shem does not know which one is really which and is in control. The kicker to this from the females he encounters to other people he is not even sure if he is meeting anyone who is real or this is all in his mind. I am a fan of those out there little art gems, and this film may be even more out there then I was ready for. I am not sure what the title has to do with anything beside the scenes he is on a train that come across as if David Lynch wrote an episode of The Twilight Zone. There are influences throughout this film Darren Aranofsky and David Cronenberg come to mind as well. And I know people will see this review and say DePaolo is comparing this film to David, Darren and Lynch, I am not sure if that could be a positive for the casual movie fan who needs a film simple and easy to follow. This film at almost 2 hours is a lot to think about and digest, and to not throw a spoiler in but the opening sequence if that does not puzzle you, the following scene will. The film opens up with some detectives investigating Shemâ€™s headless corpse.
So after that image we are thrown on a train with Shem who is going to see his doctor. While this sounds normal enough at first, until you start to meet the people he encounters on the train. This film tries so hard to come across as some sort of character study into depression, sexual urges and mental health in a way. I just feel that at such a long running time, that this film may be too weird and much to swallow for people. Maybe if it was cut down to 90 minutes or under. This film shoots for a feel of a Lost Highway, or maybe Mulholland Drive with almost an Eraserhead feel to it. It gives way to more Lynch moments when Shemâ€™s reality just changes and he becomes Aver who thinks he is a 50â€™s James Dean like rebel. The film has hints of maybe the 20â€™s thru the 40â€™s while the train seems present day. It is like walking into a Johnny Rockets and it feels so retro till you see the menu and prices. This is a film that is going to make you try to figure it out and get what everything means, this is not one of those sit back and let it entertain you events. This is a puzzle, a maze, and the director leaves it to you to try and make sense of it. This film from what I can gather, and trust me this film leaves interpretation open to anyone who watches it, is an inner battle between good and bad, and a struggle of sexuality and physical wants. Dualism seems to be a theme that this film drowns in; this film is definitely not for everyone.
I think watchability for a film like this is highly recommended, though this film would lose so much to play on a big screen this is a personal film and would not translate in a theater full of people. All in all, I liked the fact that the director threw caution in the air and created a film that he wants us to come up with our own conclusions. The film asks too much of the viewer with that long running time, but there is so much fucking weirdness in this film, and such a mystery that even after watching it and sitting here, I am still trying to figure it out to write this review. I think this film may be the blue print to a career in the making. Now I know how my dad felt when I introduced him to Eraserhead when I was a kid.
7.5 out of 10