Puzzles, Bondage & Gerontology
M | California | 11/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I really enjoy this film, which was directed by Alexander Whitelaw, [who only made one other (forgettable) movie over 20 years later]. It's the kind of thing that comes off like low-budget Eurotrash at first, but it has a style, pace, atmosphere and ideas that keep drawing you back into it. I found myself thinking about it days afterwards, and ended up watching it many more times. It seems Whitelaw was very influenced by the ideas of Alex Comfort and Edward de Bono, in terms of gerontology studies, game theory, and creative logic. In the commentary, he also says that this film inspired Roman Polanski to make The Tenant a couple years later; (the notion of a guy living in a suicide's apartment, following in their footsteps, and losing his grip on sanity). What startled me, however, was that Whitelaw claims to believe that immortality is not only possible but would be a good thing, while I found the whole movie to be a condemnation of believing in such fantasies. I still get that too, no matter how many times I see it. I like to compare Lifespan to another early 70s oddity; The Wicker Man, made by another erstwhile director, Robin Hardy. They are both about a naïve and somewhat arrogant guy trying to solve a mystery, but are really being led through a maze by a creepy mastermind with extremely nutty beliefs. In both films, a pretty young woman is used as bait, although she also seems to want to save the poor guy, but he is driven to pursue his course to wherever it takes him. One is about religion, and the other focuses on science, but they are both about the dangers of fanaticism."
NoWireHangers | Sweden | 03/10/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Ben Land (Hiram Keller), a young American doctor, travels to Amsterdam to do research on aging with Dr. Linden. Soon after Land arrives, Linden hangs himself in his apartment and Land has to try to find out the results of his research. "Lifespan" is a strange, slow moving movie that relies more on atmosphere than on plot. Land meets and plays bondage games with Linden's girlfriend and a Swiss man (Klaus Kinski) walks around looking mysterious, not saying much. Hiram Keller does a good job in the lead role and his narration is very good. The plot moves slowly to a conclusion that some may find unsatisfying and others intriguing. I think it worked pretty well, although it's not a movie that it's likely I will watch again any time soon."