The rejection of narrative does not always take the director into the realm of avant-garde film making. Dousing the world in gray scale does not always generate the charm of neo-noir. Retelling a classic story such as Ulysses does not necessarily take the viewers to a journey of Homeric proportion. Fortunately, Keyhole reaches all three criteria thus making itself one of the must watch films of this century.
Canadian director Guy Maddin lets us accompany the journey of Ulysses Pick, an American gangster of thirties, coming back to his home. The house is haunted, some members residing inside its various rooms locked and unlocked sequentially, declared as ghosts. Some of them are indistinguishable from the mortals while the others seem to be enmeshed in the repetition of a single task. Ulysses looks back, rather impassively, upon his deceased children or his forgotten ancestors as if not to be distracted from his journey towards nowhere.
If the question what it all means or what this particular sequence signifies is something that haunts you while watching a film, Keyhole would be a very difficult watch for you. Most of the scenes are very open-ended with rather minimal indication on the part of the director to aid the audience to interpret the vista. Rather Maddin concentrated upon creating a vista that is full of disturbing elements, with occasional dark humour and substantial allusion to the Homeric epic tale.
Guy Maddin should be highly lauded for his venture into this work, reminding a viewer of classics like Satyricon or Libertarias. It is highly recommended to anyone for whom cinema transpires something more than story-telling or visual appeals.