"Stay" defied its title last year by vanishing from theaters about as quickly as it appeared, but "The Sixth Sense" rip-off, with its catchy cover and quality cast, is earning a little more attention on DVD. Not a lot, but some. Okay, it's still not getting any attention - that's why I'm writing a review.
Not for everyone, "Stay" is a weird psychological thriller about a psychiatrist (Ewan McGregor) who is dating an ex-patient (Naomi Watts) and who has taken over a case of a young college student (Ryan Gosling) who is hearing voices, seeing things and claims that he will kill himself in three days. While McGregor quickly labels him as serious, he doesn't realize how serious everything is - he too begins to spiral out of reality, seeing people that should be dead, among other things.
Now, when I said this movie was a "Sixth Sense" rip-off, I was not implying the ending. This movie deals with ghosts, but not in the same way. It has a twist ending, but it is a bit different. And the twist ending isn't nearly as engaging.
All actors deliver good but not great performances. The screenplay takes second to the visuals and direction, which are so important to the movie that they serve as a distraction. McGregor is certainly quite good as he gets a vast percentage of the screen time, whereas Gosling fails to deliver a sympathetic character. Watts and Bob Hoskins, in supporting roles, are wasted.
The movie itself succeeds from its strangeness, but that's only if you like strangeness. Director Marc Forster ("Finding Neverland") goes crazy with visual tricks, and some people may appreciate them; others may not. In comparison, this films lack the cohesive look and feel that the great films have, but it still works to a marginal degree. Still, it gets quite psychadelic after a while and if you're not willing to pay close attention, it will just look like a bunch of jibberish.
As for the ending, it is mildly predictable about halfway through, if not earlier. It's a neat ending but not the most fulfilling of ones.
"Stay" is a decent thriller with some twisty tricks, but is not memorable enough to avoid the bargain bin for long.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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