The musical movie, Flipping the Whale is an experimental black and white digital movie. Director Sean Guinan’s debut movie was released in May, 2001 in the USA. The movie stars Lance Wesley, Angie Carr, and Alexander Dumas in the main roles. The rest of the cast includes Rae Gray, Sean Guinan, Bryan Hart, Kara S. Leigh, Martti Nelson, Marietta Putignano, Eddie Shin, and Jim Staples.
This movie is not made to be a mass weekend entertainer. The movie’s beginning, end, and everything in between – none of it has a definite form. Everything is up to your imagination, and the more you think, the deeper the plot unfolds like the layers of an onion. For those who like movies that go in a definite direction, this is a serious no-no. Remember Inception (2010), with its uncertain ending, multiply that by a thousand times, and maybe, just maybe, you get an idea of what Flipping the Whale is all about.
This 90 minute adventure musical treat is a captivating, enchanting, and sometimes, frustratingly maddening blend of music and video. The movie follows the adventures of five whalers, led by Guinan himself, and Eddie Shin, from the 1920s, who are travelling through time in search of lost love and utopia. Their search brings them to 1998. What makes their journey even more difficult is that a demon is always working to discourage them from their efforts. This is what the movie is about, on a superficial level. But, its true plot is far deeper and esoteric.
The movie is set in Ravenswood Ocean. Ravenswood Ocean is what lies beneath the surface of the collective subconscious – a vault of dreams and memories. Nothing here is simple, and it is hardly possible to differentiate between what is real and what is not. Brownie points for the audience who can do it. Returning to the story, the discovery of the Ravenswood Ocean in the 1920s brought scientists called “whalers”, to study it. The only way to explore this metaphysical realm is by conducting mythical expeditions. These whalers often face ghosts and demons that inhabit this world of abstract.
William Moore is one such whaler in the year 1998. However, his intentions are more personal than scientific. He has put a team together for another expedition into this Ravenswood Ocean to find the spirit of his ladylove. However, the expedition is fraught with terror created by the demon of regret. Shocked by the nature of his true intentions, when they find about them, the fellow explorers remove the captain, Moore from command. But, when they are unable to deal with the demon, Moore convinces them to let him handle the situation. He asks them to leave him in the Ravenswood Ocean, to face the demon alone, and save the entire mankind.
Clearly, the movie provides a field day for analysers. There is nothing fixed. Every scene, every dialogue, and every event can be interpreted in a number of ways, and director Guinan encourages the audience to discover their version of the story themselves. Most movies are simplified to the point of catering to the simplest of the minds. Not Flipping the Whale. Things are deliberately anachronistic. You have to work your brains to follow things to their end. The actors have done an amazing job of producing the emotions and delivering dialogues, that only add to the while mysticism, interspersed with frequent musical numbers.
The movie has won a number of awards, including Best Picture at the 2001 Lake Arrowhead Film Festival in California, Audience Award at the 2001 Critical Mass Film Festival in Clinton, New York, and more. For those who love to get lost in new magical realms for days after watching a movie, this is the final destination. If you sign up for one of these Comcast Internet Plans, you can watch this entire movie online.