Coming to theatres today, Friday, December 14:
THAT WAY MADNESS LIES…
Northwest Film Center (May 2017)
Hot Springs Women’s, Richmond
The filmmaker is drawn into the financial, emotional, and legal mess of her brother’s mental health issues.
Over several years, filmmaker Sandra Luckow increasingly has to step up to deal with the cascading consequences of her 40something brother Duanne’s untreated mental health problems. Though always something of a misfit, particularly in any matters relating to women, Duanne was a capable small-business owner and talented classic car restorer, owned a home, and had a few close male friends. In a short time span, he lost everything, was pitted against his sister, and was committed involuntarily to the Oregon State Hospital. Before things went totally south, Sandra begins filming him, hoping this would help her make sense of his condition and help him admit his problems, as his own interest in filmmaking as a teen inspired Sandra to work in the medium. Over time, however, he moves from being a willing participant to an adversary, as the scope of his sickness is revealed and his resistance to being classified as mentally ill grows, despite engaging in increasingly damaging behaviors that threaten not only himself but his parents’ financial security. While the story has a number of disturbing and unexpected twists and turns that make it compellingly watchable at times, as well as revealing about the sorry state of our society’s willingness to properly contend with mental health issues, Luckow’s filmmaking approach unfortunately drags the project down. Given that she is a key part of the story, it’s unavoidable that Luckow have an onscreen presence, but she overdoes it by half, excessively and superfluously narrating and filming herself, resulting in an uncinematic documentary.