Brand Upon The Brain!

"Excellent"

Brand Upon The Brain! Review


Ladies and Gentlemen! Boys and Girls (Over 18)! Welcome to the Spectacle of the Summer! Prepare Your Eyes for Popping and Your Jaw for Dropping! We Invite You to Partake in the Newest of Celluloid Contraptions Created by that Crazy Canadian himself: Guy Maddin! Cross-dressing! Ritual Sacrifice! Incest! Teen Detectives! The Fountain of Youth! Vampirism! Cannibalism! The Resurrection! You Can Find All of This and More in Maddin's New Film: Brand Upon the Brain!

Don't be surprised if you find a carnival barker outside the theatre saying these very words. Maddin's latest malcontent thrust into the past goes all out to recreate the real deal in a silent film experience. Besides the grainy, jumpy camera work and the burnt-out trickery found in the best silent films, Maddin has commissioned an orchestra to play all the music live and a bevy of celebrities to provide live, spoken narration to the piece. Names as varied as Crispin Glover, Lou Reed, and Isabella Rossellini stand at a podium, shouting and retracing the short bursts of words seen on the screen. For any true cinephile, this has Venom and the Sandman beaten by a country mile.

The story goes like this: Guy Maddin (Erik Steffen Maahs) returns to his hometown on an island that once housed a deranged orphanage run by his mother (Gretchen Krich) and his mad scientist father (Todd Jefferson Moore). As he tries to repair the lighthouse his mother once occupied, he flashes back to his youth at the orphanage when he would pal around with Sis (Maya Lawson), a disastrous flirt with chastity forced on her by her mother.

One day, they are visited by Wendy Hale (Katherine E. Scharhon), half of the brother-sister team of sleuths known as the Lightbulb Kids. Young Guy (Sullivan Brown) quickly develops a crush on Wendy but she then disappears in lew of her brother Chance Hale. In fact, Wendy has just dressed up as Chance to better investigate the strange markings on the back of children's necks. While investigating, Hale also begins an affair with Sis and discovers nectar that can make people youthful again, created by Guy's father.

Following his fantastic short My Dad is 100 Years Old, Brand Upon the Brain shows Maddin being more calculated and restrained in his editing style and his overall aesthetic. Brain continues a longing to create that perfect balance of silent film rhetoric and nostalgia-blasted camp that reached its pinnacle in 2004's extraordinary Cowards Bend the Knee. Maddin's further tunneling into his past and his psyche creates a wacky diversion, but there's also a fondness and warmth to the film that elevates it beyond gimmickry. Even the casting comes off as mnemonic: All the actors seem to have been chosen for their faces and expressions, none more evocative than Scharhon's wide-eyed mixture of curiosity, despondence, and lust. Through his camera, his editing, and his ever-unique style, Maddin alludes to the ghosts of childhood not through imaginary friends and monsters but rather the monsters and friends we all wish were imaginary.



Brand Upon The Brain!

Facts and Figures

Run time: 95 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 24th September 2008

Box Office USA: $0.2M

Distributed by: Vitagraph Films

Production compaines: The Film Company

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Fresh: 53 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Amy E. Jacobson, Gregg Lachow

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.