The ubiquitous Ewan MacGregor are your eyes for the twisted psychological thriller Stay which has some interesting musical selections complements of artists like The Guess Who.
MacGregor (The Island, Valiant) is well-attired Sam Foster, a therapist gradually drawn into the case of a mysterious college student, Henry Letham, a ghostly detached Ryan Gosling (Murder by Numbers).
Henry is first seen walking away from his car erupting in flames on a bridge and the slick editing under the direction of Marc Forster takes one aboard a mind-bender of a roller coaster. For its sharp turns into reality distortion, a place between life and death, so to speak, Stay is often static, even with a cast that includes Naomi Watts (The Ring Two), Bob Hoskins (Unleashed), and political-minded Janeane Garofalo.
Watts may have been cast for her outstanding work in perhaps a related film, Mulholland Drive. But, as Sam's live-in struggling artist girlfriend Lila, the angst isn't potent enough. Her scars and not taking her meds however can't keep Sam from revealing the details of the case to her. Things try to get more eerie as behind one of her paintings is the patient's name. And the details of his planned suicide, midnight on Saturday, are identical to an artist.
The obsession of Sam into Henry is the driving force of David Benioff's screenplay, and sadly it is more style over substance. Paranoia and deja vu come into play as characters seem to appear in what may be a dream state for the viewer. Forster (Finding Neverland) uses some intriguing camera angles and closeups, but even the emotional output of Hoskins as a blind doctor can help this picture with a crazy surprise finish on the Brooklyn Bridge stay with you long afterwards.