drama/mys­tery, 127 min­utes, not rated, 3 chiles

Pasatiempo - - RANDOM ACTS -

Cal­liope’s boyfriend’s mar­riage pro­posal comes just sec­onds be­fore she has a full-blown seizure. The seizures keep com­ing, stump­ing her doc­tors and un­lock­ing buried mem­o­ries of a sor­did past with a man named Billy. Our in­tro­duc­tion to “Dead Billy” ( John Hardy), so-called be­cause of a near-death ex­pe­ri­ence in Viet­nam (which may or may not ac­tu­ally have hap­pened), comes by voice-over nar­ra­tion in one of the film’s many sur­real mon­tages de­pict­ing the mem­o­ries that haunt Cal­liope (Lau­ren My­ers). Still a young woman, Cal­lie was much younger when she shacked up with Billy a decade ear­lier.

This indie from di­rec­tor Scotty Milder weaves its way through Cal­lie’s flash­backs to slowly piece to­gether a hor­ri­fy­ing nar­ra­tive. When Cal­liope, named after the muse of elo­quence, finds a bro­ken statue of her name­sake in her home, the mys­tery at the heart of Dead Billy takes on sin­is­ter over­tones as her search for an­swers re­veals a life of vi­o­lent sex­ual abuse and ma­nip­u­la­tion. The film, shot in Al­bu­querque, is claus­tro­pho­bic and at times dis­turb­ing in its re­al­is­tic de­pic­tions of vi­o­lence — but it also has mo­ments of gen­uine ten­der­ness. My­ers car­ries the film, and she is par­tic­u­larly ef­fec­tive as a sur­vivor weigh­ing the cost of her emo­tional en­tan­gle­ment with a dan­ger­ous man. — Michael Abatemarco Vi­o­let Crown, 7:15 p.m. Fri­day, Oct. 21

Dead Billy

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