The Haunted Airman - a very artsy film reviewed


The Haunted Airman (UK, 2006)

Seen: Friday, 16th January 2008 (well it was in the middle of the night, so maybe Saturday is more accurate ;-P)
Runtime: 67′
Director: Chris Durlacher
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Julian Sands, Rachael Stirling, Melissa Lloyd
Production House: BBC
Plot: During WW2 a paralysed RAF pilot recovers in a sort of convalescence home for people with mental disorders.

Scene from the Film
This is a scene between the young pilot and his aunt.

Impressions In Short
It’s an art film in the full meaning of the term ;) Very artsy and difficult to understand. I find it quite strange that stuff like this is being made for TV viewing - I don’t think it went down well with the audience (imdb comments seem to suggest that and they never released it on DVD, which BBC usually does).
Personally, I sort of enjoyed it, but I have no idea what was going on ;)

Some Details
Toby (the pilot played by Robert Pattinson) has trouble sleeping because of constant nightmares and hallucinations and stuff like that. So there’s a lot of strange imagery and obsessions (spiders, memories of the war etc.) in the film. At first one can make out what’s real and what’s not fairly easily and Toby seems very sane in between all those visions. But as it goes on, everything gets blurred. By the time he starts insinuating that his doctor can control shadows and therefore must be the devil, one has no idea if that’s really the case or if that’s just going on in his head.
It’s essentially just a 4 person story (there are other characters, but they barely have a presence really). There’s Toby, who is on the screen practically non-stop and the story is told completely through him. Then there’s Toby’s aunt with whom he either has or hopes to have a sort of incestuous relationship (I guess that shows on the clip I linked to ;) ). They’re actually not related by blood - she’s his uncle’s widow. Her motives in all this are a little dubious. There’s this thing that appears 2 or 3 times - as if her feelings for Toby are whatever they are because she’s never been scared of him. What that means exactly is not really specified. There’s the nurse, who is a very practical kind of being and who manages to get Toby’s trust. And then there’s the doctor, who Toby never has it in him to trust.
The camera stays with Toby practically all the time, there’s a lot of close-ups and a lot of focus on various, mundane sort of tasks - sometimes pretty private ones, many of which Toby can’t do for himself because of his disability. Like there’s the bath scene which all the celebrity gossip websites are linking to, just because it’s Robert Pattinson in a bath lol It’s not even like there’s any nudity there and it’s more concerned with the lack of privacy and helplessness of his situation than with presenting anything even remotely titillating ;) It’s a nice scene though :)
Apart from the incestuous relationship, Pattinson even gets to do a slightly necrophilic scene which amuses me in context of his heartthrob status - I wonder what the fangirls would say. I’ve already heard them being very disturbed at the idea that he’s got gay scenes in his next film lol
The thing about the film that probably captured me most is the Britishness of it. It’s the old, very clear kind of British accents that one doesn’t hear anymore, but which one automatically associates with that era. And somehow the whole atmosphere is like that. All the characters look like they could be on an old photo from that time. Usually when I see films set in those times I can somehow feel that the body language and general atmosphere has something modern about it and this wasn’t really the case in this one.
And the acting I enjoyed :)

Er… I think it’s safe to say that most people would not like it :] But I wouldn’t want to dissuade anyone from seeing it cause it’s not that it’s bad, it’s just kind of difficult.
Generally this is for people who like films with weird visuals, symbols and like trying to figure out what actually happened in the film plot-wise cause the story most certainly does not come through clearly ;) The focus is the atmosphere.
It might be a good film for Robert Pattinson fans because he’s on the screen pretty much non-stop and puts in an interesting performance, but if you’re not open to watching weirdo films, you’ll probably hate it anyway :]

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