“A Year in Mooring” does a great job of making 90 minutes feel like five hours. Sure, the movie is visually beautiful, but that’s not enough to redeem the slow-paced and underdeveloped story.
Directed by Chris Eyre, the film portrays the Young Mariner (Josh Lucas), who purchases a boat following a mysterious occurrence from his past. He spends a year shaping up the dilapidated boat on a harbor near Lake Michigan while meeting a few new personalities in the secluded location.
The Ancient Mariner (James Cromwell), is by far the most engaging character in the film. With his witty insight and dry humor, he’s a direct contrast to the Waitress, played by Ayelet Zurer. Although the Waitress is one of the few characters the Young Mariner develops a relationship with, Zurer’s character is never named, her story is never told and she is never explained in any substantial way.
As for the storyline, well, the characters are certainly not the most underdeveloped part of the movie. The viewer gets glimpses into the Young Mariner’s past, but his reason for fleeing his old life and the tragic event that leads him to his new life is never fully revealed. It becomes frustrating to try to put the pieces together.
Where the movie shines is in the visuals. A diverse variety of shots and camera angles capture the beauty the director must have intended the entire film to embody. Beautifully cinematic flashbacks and wide scenic shots are peppered throughout. It’s a mess of a plot, but a beautiful one at that.
Attempts at pushing the narrative simply feel like contrivances. The main character is constantly shown moving upward: hiking up a snowy hill, looking up into the sun after falling on the floor and trying to swim upward after drunkenly stumbling into the water. Presumably, this is to parallel the struggle he finds in picking up his own life after the incident that brought him to rock bottom. But at least this makes sense. Repeated images of floating seedpods and a small Buddha just riddles the plot in unexplained symbolism.
“A Year in Mooring” is the pair of socks you get on Christmas morning. It has beautiful packaging, but is just disappointing. The viewer must decide if it’s worth wading through the spotty acting, frustrating story and slow-paced action for dashes of beautiful cinematography.Contact Tara O'Sullivan.