“Open” has its faults, but it is a worthwhile endeavor with a great cast and should be applauded for trying to be different.
Billed as a Scott Pilgrim-Esque musical-comedy-thriller, Open offers a unique take on the troubled marriage trope as it follows Kristina (Lindsay Anne Williams) enter into a period of rediscovery following a catastrophic event.
It features three main characters: Kristina, Robert (an equal part annoying and sympathetic Miles Doleac), and Erik (Jeremy London), with whom the story centers. I found each of them worked well with each other with the screen time they shared. Jeremy’s character, in particular, has so many facets that he moves through the gears to show them on the screen.
We are introduced to Kristina in her dream state, imagining her as the lead singer in an 80’s new-wave band, complete with an MTV-style video. These are crafted well, and you get enough from them to get a handle on her mental state.
The songs reinforce key moments in the film so that you are constantly engaged with Kristina’s mind and view, and I thought this was refreshing.
Her first date is Erik, a former famous actor who is in that land waiting for something to come back and be re-discovered, and they hit it off well because he is everything that Robert isn’t.
The actual telling of the story of how we get to the open part of the relationship is handled well and goes some way to convey how devastating miscarriage is for both parties but also how it opens up cracks that you maybe didn’t see before. These are shown via flashback and, while brief, do a lot to set the story in motion and explain why they try this relationship to recapture their lives as they were before they became trapped within each other.
But there are rules set by Robert, which causes friction from the start and is an early sign of how men will try to control any situation to stack it in their favor.
Of course, it doesn’t go entirely to plan as Kristina discovers she is pregnant, leading to a somewhat darker tone for the remaining screen time.
It’s unfortunate that you immediately know where the film is heading, and it becomes predictable.
What it does show, and I applaud the filmmaker Miles Doleac and writers (Miles and Lindsay Anne Williams), is how the men in her life don’t seem to listen or be aware of her needs.
Certainly, Erik becomes desperate to be involved and takes steps to ensure he gets what he wants, even if it hurts others.
My main niggle is the description of the film that accompanies the release. It mentions being a musical of sorts, but I’m not sure about that. I think having those musical numbers as interludes to convey Kristina’s other self is brilliant in establishing where she is mentally. They show the kind of inner turmoil as she tries to work out what SHE wants instead of trying to make everyone else happy.
If you take the music out of it, what you have is a thoughtful drama of a marriage suffering through one of the worst things that can happen to any couple.
It’s an incredibly difficult topic to discuss in a way that doesn’t trigger for those watching who have experienced it.
Once they reach the point that Kristina is pregnant, that tone changes, and it tries to be something it isn’t.
It’s like they had this great idea but couldn’t make all the parts fit together.
William Forsythe as Captain Edgar J Steadman is effective in his screen time and the interplay with his on-screen daughter, Emma (a focused Elena Sanchez).
The final third tries to crank up the tension in what Erik does next, and that is reflected in the cinematography with darker hues and shadows. To be fair, it looks great. It’s just that you knew what would happen before the end credits rolled.
All in all, it’s a pretty decent flick. The songs work in the way they are supposed to. The cast acquit themselves admirably, and it looks great.
Open handles a difficult subject well and is thoughtful in how it is portrayed, especially in how it drives the couple forward to embark on a journey that maybe neither of them wanted.