Founder of LeftHouse Films, Ben Mcguire is the writer, director and star of his latest film WiNdOw LiCkEr, which has its premiere at Raindance Film Festival at the end of this week.
A dizzying cacophony of visuals and sound, Brian Mcguire’s WiNdOw LiCkEr is often difficult to watch. In some ways, it is not proper to call this a film at all, as what has actually been crafted here is more of a sensory sculpture. The constant focus on a character’s features, as well as the discordant clash of visuals and sound, are enhanced by Mcguire’s stylistic choice to film the work primarily on an Android smart phone, in part due to lack of budget. The plot of the film follows Ben Wild (played by the director) as he rapidly descends into a madness brought about by his manic depressive lifestyle of addiction to live camera girls, video games and self prescribed medication.
A number of techniques are employed throughout the film, from slow motion to stop motion animation, the latter used to form disturbed dream sequences where bottles of pills perform a wild danse macabre that spills over into the waking world of Ben. There is also an impressive use of symbolism present throughout the film, as Mcguire chooses to call upon external imagery to present to the audience Ben’s own internal struggle. One can’t help but notice the employment of Freud’s structural model of the psyche within the film; the ‘JoePop’ reality television programme representing the protagonist’s ego, the camera girls suggesting a drive towards the pleasure principle of the id, and the religious guidance teacher bringing the superego into play. When Ben’s sister arrives, we are immediately presented with a nonstop farcical dialogue reminiscent of the mouth in Beckett’s play, Not I. She, like the other supporting players, seems only to exist for Ben’s own mental anguish to be justified and expounded. Perhaps this all stretches the metaphor too far, but it’s all to play for in this wild journey through the mind of a man crashing toward his own bitter fate.
About an hour in, the biggest challenge is presented to the audience, who must endure Ben’s sickness in full, gut churning, room spinning climax. After this ordeal, he attempts to redeem himself with a confessional that drastically changes the pace of the film. The atmosphere becomes more serene as he conducts himself with a sanity thus far hidden from view, but one that is perhaps a little misleading as the film takes another dark turn.
When Christo moves in, the audience is inclined to see this as Ben’s redemption, a literal Christ-like figure stepping in to provide salvation, but we begin to suspect that this is in fact a manifestation of his own mind cradling itself, a soothing action that in turn begins to strangle him. Mcguire has created a rich tapestry here that pulls a lot together for the viewer to examine and discuss, with a dénouement that generates an audience experience of sympathy and understanding toward the protagonist. The film is showing at Raindance Film Festival this October so make sure you get your tickets before they’re gone!