By Elbert Ventura
From its nearly silent opening passages to its exhilarating and enigmatic capper, Morvern Callar announces itself as the product of a singular sensibility. A tone poem for the rave generation, Lynne Ramsay’s latest film may be easier to admire than to like, but there’s no denying it establishes her as a filmmaker of tremendous promise. This follow-up to Ramsay’s acclaimed debut, Ratcatcher, is a kaleidoscopic immersion, as unknowable and magnetic as its titular heroine. Played by the superb Samantha Morton, Morvern is a cipher, at once strangely disconnected and thrillingly alive. Following the suicide of her boyfriend, she takes an unorthodox path, appropriating his recently finished novel as her own and using the money he left behind to go on a vacation with her best friend, Lanna (Kathleen McDermott). Morvern’s impulsive wanderings, which ultimately alienate even the free-spirited Lanna, come across less as inexplicable whimsy than as the pure expression of a generation’s existential restlessness. Steeped in cool solipsism, Ramsay’s movie privileges sensation over sense: at its best, it’s a captivating mosaic of color, music, and mood. In its opacity, Morvern Callar may seem to some a willful exercise in audience frustration. Those who surrender to Ramsay’s rough poetry, however, will find the movie a transporting experience.
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