FEATURE FILM REVIEW
WHERE THE MERROWS ROAM
An entirely dialogue-free, experimental feature film following two separate stories across a series of distinct chapters.
WHERE THE MERROWS ROAM is an entirely dialogue-free, experimental feature film following two separate stories across a series of distinct chapters. A nonlinear collage of reminiscences tracing the hazy glow of childhood memory through to the harsh light of adulthood. Sounds interesting, doesn't it? While it's safe to assume the above description does, in fact, describe this feature-length film from Colin Hickey, there's also room to believe that it doesn't describe it at all. I'll get into that down below but quickly put? Where the Merrows Roam has room to be interpreted in more than a few different ways, and I don't mean that in a bad way. When it comes to experimental indie movies, this one gets it right.
IMAGINE TAKING A TRIP TO YOUR LOCAL ART GALLERY, WHERE THEY FEATURE ALL KINDS OF ART THAT IS SOMEHOW LOOSELY CONNECTED.
Without any dialog at all, you might think that following a few characters, including Hickey himself, would become confusing after a time, and you would be both right and wrong. Those who try and grasp Where the Merrows Roam as a traditional and linear film may find themselves lost almost right away, but here's the thing. You would probably have to force yourself to do that because I instantly became lost in a dream-like state. It's easy now, after the fact, to write that this "could" be a confusing movie, but when I was watching it, "confusing" was the last thing on my mind. Actually, there wasn't much anything on my mind except the images and background music/sounds coming from my screen. The best way I can think to describe this film? Imagine taking a trip to your local art gallery, where they feature all kinds of art that is somehow loosely connected. Even if you don't quite follow along with the narrative, you can still appreciate what's in front of you and when you do make a connection, it feels like gold.
I REALLY ENJOYED NOT KNOWING AND ALLOWING MY MIND TO DRAW ITS OWN CONCLUSIONS.
For me, the most interesting aspect of this film was how easily you could interpret the movie in one way and then switch over and think of something completely different. Now, Where the Merrows Roam has a story and knowing beforehand what it entails probably changes the way you view things. I went in wholly blind so reading the description after the fact was kind of like an A-Ha moment. But I really enjoyed not knowing and allowing my mind to draw its conclusions. I believe it completely changed the experience, not knowing.
There's something to be said about allowing your imagination to take hold as you watch the flurry of images onscreen. The music also added some extra "oomph!" to what I was interpreting as happening. There is also a lot of people just kind of sitting and "I thought" contemplating their existence. I suppose I was kind of right, but it all only added to the mystery that is Colin Hickey's film. Mix in all the breathtaking scenery in the movie, and is it any wonder I wanted to let my mind free?
THIS HOUR-LONG EXPERIMENTAL FILM, IN MANY WAYS, IS LIKE ONE MASSIVE MONTAGE.
Yes. I really enjoyed watching Where the Merrows Roam for so many different reasons. A lot of those reasons were probably not what the filmmaker intended. This hour-long experimental film, in many ways, is like one massive montage with the added bonus of some plot points. But whether you take the story as it is or completely make up your own narrative, I don't believe there's a wrong way to enjoy this piece. For that, I feel four stars is an excellent reminder that sometimes experimental doesn't mean cheap.
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