HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
Butt Boy
Dog of Flanders, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
   
 
  Whalebone Box, The Sea Of Dreams
Year: 2020
Director: Andrew Kotting
Stars: Andrew Kotting, Iain Sinclair, Eden Kotting, MacGillivray, Philip Hoare, Anonymous Bosch
Genre: Drama, Documentary, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: What do you see? The whalebone box is what we see, an artefact made of the remains of a whale that was washed up on the shore of a Scottish island some time ago, apparently meeting its demise in a storm, rather than any whaling ship bringing it to its doom. Part of its skeleton - just a small part - was used in the creation of the container, meaning it the bone is filled with thick oils, and it is bound with lead strips, taken from the lead weights used on fishing nets to catch its fellow denizens of the ocean. But what will happen if you open this box? What is inside? Is it better not to know, and take the object from London all the way back up to Scotland to return it to the sea?

Director Andrew Kotting continued to plough his own furrow with one of his patented mixtures of documentary, fiction, found footage and mysticism born of the land of the British Isles, which according to his work held its own arcane power that humanity barely understood day to day, yet had an effect on them nonetheless. There was as ever a sense that he was drawing on information he had divined himself about existence and was sharing with the audience not to make it plain and explain everything, but to hint and allude to the vastness of life that we tend to accept without question when perhaps we should be trying to get in touch with the mysteries of nature more.

This was a journey film, as much of his efforts were, as Kotting, writer Iain Sinclair (very much on the film's off kilter wavelength) and the cinematographer Anonymous Bosch travelled up the length of the country to the Isle of Harris to ostensibly bury the titular box in the sand. Along the way they stopped off at locations of significance, or they believed were significant anyway, exclusively rural such as graveyards or a ruined castle they rather foolhardily scale despite the warning sign up on what remains of the stairs. If you have seen a film of Kotting's before, you may know what to expect, a patchwork of shots both original and recovered, but not without a sense of humour.

Also appearing was the woman who had become the director's mascot, his daughter Eden who has a condition that impedes her movement and speech (she is helpfully provided with subtitles). She becomes emblematic of the story’s search for meaning in a reality that we only perceive part of, and her dreams of the whale inform how the film presents its material; she appears throughout, whether looking at things through binoculars, or captured sleeping those dreams. If you had followed Kotting since his nineties documentary Gallivant (or before), you may find yourself quite affected that Eden was still a part of her father's output, and his obvious love for her and encouragement of her too remained one of the sweetest elements in all of British indie cinema. She did not join the trio on their excursion, but she was there in spirit.

In addition, there were clips from older documentaries, often amateur, to build the landscape of the picture, along with audio bits and pieces from films like Kiss Me Deadly (the ultimate "What's in the box?" film) or John Carpenter's The Thing, proving the American director was so influential in the twenty-first century that he could show up in the most unlikely places. The cinematography of the journey was shot on an old 16mm camera, lending a vintage quality to the imagery rather than a timeless one, but all part of an experience that was genuinely dreamlike. Yes, you could quibble that more clarity in the intent and delivery could have rendered The Whalebone Box more coherent and accessible, and that Kotting was limiting his audience potential, but really, did anyone want to see him go commercial? Better were his musings on the land and nature that obviously meant so much to him presented with a trickster's eye, and once you adjusted to the rhythm here it was captivatingly eccentric.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 732 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: