It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Leave it to a 69-year-old actor to make the year's most experimental film. Anthony Hopkins' "Slipstream" is an attempt to represent what goes through the mind of a dying man, although you wouldn't guess that from its official plot summary on the Internet Movie Database, which thinks it's about a screenwriter "on the verge of implosion." So have I revealed a plot point? No, because it's clearly stated in the movie's first line of dialogue and repeated in the last.
I have grown so wise, however, only after viewing the movie a second time. When I wrote my interview with Hopkins (which appeared Sunday), I shared the general opinion: Felix, the writer in the film, I wrote, "is confusing reality with illusion. His characters appear in his life, his life appears in the movie, and mostly he looks on uncertainly while both real and imaginary people do all the loving, living and dying." All true enough in a way, but beside the point.
There is no direct line through the story, which creates the way a man might think if he had received a sudden shock, was under heavy sedation, and was combining recent experiences with current ones. He doesn't confuse his fictional characters with real people; he sees them interchangeably. Let's say he based a character on his wife (Stella Arroyave). Sometimes the character looks like his wife, sometimes his wife looks like the character, sometimes he thinks she's in the room, sometimes he thinks she's on the set, sometimes he thinks they're together in a third place. It's dream logic, and the movie offers a clue by quoting Edgar Allan Poe:
All that we see or seem