Jan 18, 2011

Rhinoceros Eyes


Aaron Woodley's career in film no doubt has been pampered by his uncle, who you may know, David Cronenberg. After making several short films, Woodley jumped into his feature debut with Rhinoceros Eyes, yet another shell in which Michael Pitt struts his god-given eccentricity as horn-rimmed bespectacled liberal arts ladies coo in unison. In Rhinoceros Eyes, the mystery and wonder behind the title is soon revealed as nothing more than a manipulating wench puppet play. Pitt stars as Chep, an introverted autistic prop assistant who resides in the very prop house that he commits his daily activities to. After being confronted by a woman whose artistic integrity leads her to this very same prop house in hopes for authentic rhinoceros eyes, Chep's debilitating mental illness leads him to reach into pockets of excess he was unaware of in order to do anything to aid his confused obsession. Several comparisons can be drawn from Rhinoceros Eyes and Bertolucci's The Dreamers. Not only does Michael Pitt express his love for cinema in both films but he is equally as mentally deficient in the roles of Chep and Matthew. At least in Rhinoceros Eyes Pitt didn't shame me by having his pants removed while Bertolucci gawks at his flaccid member.

Being the nephew to David Cronenberg does not entitle you with a hereditary disposition towards crown cinema. Woodley needs to realize this and any fan that is endeared to this film as well. Rhinoceros Eyes isn't a good film in any regards. I was able to finish it but this alone does not certify as entertainment. Rhinoceros Eyes consists of two "realities". The first is the dark, pain, dark lifestyle that Michael Pitt lives and expects you to conform to being interested in. The second is his strange hallucinations of various trinkets taking animation and forming into patchwork reflections of his very own image. Hardly inspired by the stop-motion greats, these scenes will leave you groaning, more so than the faux-sentimentality at work in what must be Michael Pitt's worst role. Gondry's Science of Sleep did this infinitely better than Rhinoceros Eyes flails to achieve. If Rhinoceros Eyes succeeds in any aspect, it's making romance tasteless and tame yet again. Soon after acquiring the rhinoceros eyes, the woman begins milking the retard for more elaborate pieces for their art film: a memorable prop being an Irish carved prosthetic arm, who Chet's neighbor coincidentally owns and beats her husband with every night.

What is accomplished within Woodley's debut is creating something with the intentions of being a film, but plagued by every possible nuisance of modern filmmaking, an aesthetic in drought, intellectually void, plot inconsistencies, and an ending involving a decision that should have been made from the start, rendering the later half of the film null. If you have a significant other that favors films such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind then Rhinoceros Eyes might be the perfect film to delude respect towards in exchange for late night sex. Guilty of more than one crime, Rhinoceros Eyes also shares some strange similarities with Donnie Darko, released 2 years prior. Same stigma as most pretentious cinema that reaches out to vulnerable females susceptible to romance, Rhinoceros Eyes is hollow cinema, driven only to conceptualize an ending that Woodley thought was "sick" or "awesome". To be forward, the ending was the only bright side of this piece of film, in fact, watching Michael Pitt withstand a remarkable amount of pain was oddly the most satisfying thing I'd recently viewed. But it's all in vain, Rhinoceros Eyes still remains one of the worst films I've struggled through.


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