Think of Black Limousine as a mini of the surreal masterwork Mulholland Drive, but with less twists and turns. It has a similar conceit in that it's a Hollywood fantasy within a Tinsel Town dream, and a ghost story wrapped in a romance that's half in love with easeful death, but it's much less stylized.
Still, it looks beautiful (so much so, that I looked up the DP — Seo Mutarevic; realized, I've never seen his work before) and has some very interesting imagery. The opening sequence, which takes place in an incendiary, glowing gold hyperspace, is something to behold and it certainly paves the way for the somber weirdness to follow. With a beautiful woman at the helm, the spaceship — a cinematic one, it turns out — dissolves.
As the film segues into more earthly climes, we meet Jack (David Arquette) a down-on-his-luck film composer, divorced following the death of his young daughter in an auto accident he may have caused while driving drunk. (Yet, he's somehow snagged a job as a limo driver.) It's in an AA meeting where he encounters the space girl herself, aspiring actress Erica (Bijou Phillips). The two strike up a friendship, then begin an affair. But in this covertly supernatural slow-burner, one of these lost souls is not exactly what or whom they claim to be. Or is it the world around the lovers that's mad? Therein lies the mystery.
However, going back to my tenuous Mulholland Drive connection, Black Limousine isn't so much a mystery or a horror film as it is an existential drama. That's all well and good — and it is good; hard to believe it's taken two years for this absorbing indie to see the light of DVD — but if you're expecting another Arquette thriller along the lines of Riding the Bullet or The Tripper, then you'll be unhappy.
Me, I found the film a bit slow (to be fair, I did have 1,000,000 things on my mind while watching it), but I was super-impressed by the acting of both leads and their chemistry. I'll definitely be watching it again, in a calmer headspace.
Supporting roles are ably played by horror fave Lin Shaye as Jack's outrageous, eccentric landlady, and Vivica A. Fox as a brassy Hollywood bigwig. As for the extras on the DVD, there are none.
= = =
Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson