Thursday, January 15, 2009

"The Deaths of Ian Stone": the idea has been numerous times


Ever had the experience of a nightmare and trying to wake yourself from a dream? It’s probably a dangerous moment. I’ve wondered if for some people the end-of-life moment becomes merely a dream that never ends; if, for the brain, time stops so that it seems to last forever.

Ice hockey player Ian Stone, traveling to London, finds himself in a bind like that, getting murdered and then waking up in another life, going through the cycle repeatedly. That’s the premise of the early 2008 thriller “The Deaths of Ian Stone”, directed by Dario Piana, written by Brendan Hood, from LionsGate and Odyssey films (from the "After Dark" "8 Films to Die For"). Ian is played by a babyfaced Mike Vogel, with female companion Medea played by Jaime Murray.

The idea has also been tried in an episode (Feb. 24 2008) of CWTV’s “Supernatural”. Sam (Jared Padalecki) repeatedly wakes to brother Dean’s (Jensen Ackles) call of “rise and shine” and a pop song (the melody goes “E--D-EDC”), and gets killed, each time earlier in the day.

From a dramatic perspective, a similar concept was tried in a larger thriller, “Vantage Point”, from Columbia, directed by Pete Travis (written by Barry Levy), early 2008, where an assassination attempt on a fictitious president about to speak in a public square in Spain is retold repeatedly from the viewpoints of various characters who may be related in a plot of some kind.

But in the Ian Stone film, each “alternate life” seems to take him back into madness. We don’t know if he is schizophrenic, or on a drug trip. One interview with an unemployment clerk is revealing, as if his life as an athlete was just a fantasy and that he needed to get a real job, perhaps humbling himself to peddle stuff. He keeps encountered this gnarled old man who tells him that “they” (the “harvesters”) are after him, that he hurt one of them. They are sort of like Stephen King’s langoliers, or perhaps just vampires. He doesn’t know if he is one of them or not. And these black monsters with claws (rather in the shape of “The Scarlet Claw”, previous review) keep grabbing him and gobbling him up. (In the first death, he is pushed in front of a train, like in a “Final Destination” movie.) Sometimes the monsters dissolve into black dust, very much as on a “Supernatural” episode.

In the end, we find out if he gets his original life (as an athlete), and his girl friend, back. Or, will he get stuck in a parallel universe, unable to traverse those extra dimensions attached to the "branes"?

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