7Roulette - IMAGES

I've always been drawn to art that explores the fragility of the human psyche. Especially the kind that begs you to look at yourself in the mirror & wonder what you're capable of if pushed to extremes. No one pushes you further than your own self. Robert Altman confronts us with mental illness in his film Images - a masterful psychological thriller about an intelligent woman who's painfully self-aware as she's coming apart. Altman uses cutaways & editing to envelope you into her delusions. Generally, Altman's style doesn't work. It's chaotic & heavy-handed. But disorganization works well in serving a story about a schitzo. John Williams's score coupled with usual sound design by Stomu Yamashta assist in painting her nightmare. Being someone that fears mental illness, this film touches a nerve with me. True horror at its best. A+

- Jess

Throughout his entire career, Altman had a nose for great stories & an ear for great sound design. But what I've always felt is that he didn't have a great eye for images (no pun), which is a grave misfortune for a moviemaker. I've felt this so much so, that I'd often wished that his films - my favorites of his in particular - had been made by someone else. Images helped me to realize - perhaps something I'd known all along - that my feelings were not entirely correct. He does, in fact, have a eye for startling static compositions; it's simply, maybe even solely, when the camera (or, more accurately in his case, the lens) is in motion that I tune out. Often noted & even praised for his aimless pans & loose zooms, I find those moments to be the blank bits of wall between paintings in a museum. Also noted & praised for attempting to tackle every possible genre (maybe even inventing some new ones along the way), I've always found he approached each one in exactly the same way, with the same aesthetic. All of that being said, Images is part of the small handful out of his thirty-plus years of work where his voyeuristic peeking & rigid directing-of-the-eye serves the story, rather than takes away from it. It's a Hitchy psychological thriller dealing with disorientation & personality crisis in the visual form of autoscopy; being removed from oneself. I'm glad Altman directed it. B

- Paul

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