Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (2006)

It was unfortunate that I did not get to see the original The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919) before seeing this one. Right off the bat, I see how some bad mixing of the various layers has distorted some of the actors faces-especially in background shots. Maybe the best part of the movie is the soundtrack. Even my wife had to ask about what some of the sounds were coming from the stereo were.
Bay Area digital effects wizard David Lee Fisher offers an enticing visual remix of the 1920 German expressionist classic with this innovative updating that places contemporary performers against scanned backdrops of the original and offers a detailed new script to create an exciting new vision. As the annual fair descends upon the sleepy burg of Holstenwall, Germany, Francis and his best friend Alan are unwittingly enticed into attending an exhibition by malevolent hypnotist Dr. Caligari that will have a sinister, life-changing effect on the pair. When the dreadful doctor awakens psychic sleepwalker Cesare (Hellboy's Doug Jones) from his profound slumber to predict Alan's future, the resulting prophecy is endlessly more terrifying than the frightened friends could have ever imagined. In the days that follow, the citizens of Holstenwell fall prey to a grisly series of unsolved murders that prompts Francis to launch a thorough investigation. With the killer fast closing in on Francis' unsuspecting fiancée Jane, the brave husband-to-be must uncover the secret of Dr. Caligary's strange powers before his one and only love suffers a particularly grim fate. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide

Running Time: 76 mins
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (2006)

Cesare-a somnambulist (somnambulism or noctambulism),
(From original film Wiki:)The film tells the story of the deranged Dr. Caligari and his faithful sleepwalking Cesare and their connection to a string of murders in a German mountain village, Holstenwall. Caligari presents one of the earliest examples of a motion picture "frame story" in which the body of the plot is presented as a flashback, as told by Francis.

The narrator, Francis, and his friend Alan visit a carnival in the village where they see Dr. Caligari and Cesare, whom the doctor is displaying as an attraction. Caligari brags that Cesare can answer any question he is asked. When Alan asks Cesare how long he has to live, Cesare tells Alan that he will die tomorrow at dawn — a prophecy which turns out to be fulfilled.

Francis, along with his girlfriend Jane, investigate Caligari and Cesare, which eventually leads to Jane's kidnapping by Cesare. Caligari orders Cesare to kill Jane, but the hypnotized slave relents after her beauty captivates him. He carries Jane out of her house, leading the townsfolk on a lengthy chase. Francis discovers that "Caligari" is actually the head of the local insane asylum, and with the help of his colleagues discovers that he is obsessed with the story of a medieval Dr. Caligari, who used a somnambulist to murder people as a traveling act.

Cesare falls to his death during the pursuit and the townsfolk discover that Caligari had created a dummy of Cesare to distract Francis. After being confronted with the dead Cesare, Caligari breaks down and reveals his mania and is imprisoned in his asylum. The influential twist ending reveals that Francis' flashback is actually his fantasy: The man he claims is Caligari is indeed his asylum doctor, who, after this revelation of the source of his patient's delusion, claims to be able to cure him.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (2005 film)

One unusual segment of the film was when Francis asks Jane to marry him. Not only does he ask to Jane's back, but Jane does not even turn around when she says yes and then leaves the scene without looking at Francis once while Francis continues to mutter to himself. It is almost like a forgone conclusion and they only went through the motions for the proposal and acceptance.

Ultimately, this film was a good idea but the special effects was sorely lacking. Thus rated 3

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