So let me just get this right out in the open, right off the bat. "Our Little Haven" is a "tough on it's viewers" kind of film. Well... on me anyhow. It borders on being what I consider an experimental piece, and it feels really, incredibly long. The length feels hyper extended not only because of the dreamy content, but because it's damn near two hours long. It is true that movies now days are getting longer - and two hours is quickly becoming the norm. Just not like this. Not when the content is so unusual - and trance inducing. The hypnotic state of Benjamin Rider's film occupies both positive and negative aspects, when it came to my ability to watch and take it all in. But before we get into that, you may be asking what it's about? Well... spoiler free of course, I'll see what I can sum up.
"Our Little Haven" follows a lot of different people. A really large cast actually. The core aspects I got were of relationships. Yet not quite presented in the way you think. This film is a mash-up of connections, similarities and... alternate events that are actually the same. With alternate people. It's all really hard to write out without a complete breakdown of the film. Including all the spoilers everyone hates to read. Yet more to the point? I'm not totally sure I actually completely understand the film. I get the basics... I guess... but... it's just so damned weird. Props to Rider and his troupe for putting forward something so utterly different than what I'm used to seeing. But boy-oh-boy it's a complicated piece. Let's try and touch up on that now. Shall we?
There is a dreamy, hypnotic feeling you get when you watch this film. In all honesty, it completely zoned me out at times. I even found myself going back to previous scenes because I thought I had missed something. Not surprisingly? Sometimes I did. This was one of my main issues. How utterly long this film felt. However, I can't stop thinking about how cool my complaint really is. "Our Little Haven" managed to keep me watching, almost through the sheer will of Benjamin and his cast. Normally, this kind of "inclusion" would merit praise all around. And it does. But that doesn't justify how long and hard it is to keep up with. This film can be so darn confusing, but I still couldn't help myself - and kept watching. Even as I felt myself drifting... that was alright. "Our Little Haven" told me so.
Through the surreal scoring that goes on and on, and massive amounts of filters, visually this is a dreamy experience. Add in the narrations and general content - and you'll understand why I "want" to call this an experimental film. We've also got the same/similar scenes from different characters, different realities even... I think... and you can start to piece together some of what makes this film confusing. But then we also have scenes that are so long and virtually pointless... Let me give a quick example. Somewhere in the first act, or maybe the second... we have a monologue from a man seeing a man he thought was dead. One fixed shot of one person talking. The dialog - sorry - monologue consisted of the man saying over and over that his silent companion was dead. How he (the character) was confused at this man being there. How "could" his friend be there? He was dead. Normally, this would be fine. However, in this scene, this one sided, "one shot" scene, extends for what seems like five minutes. Over and over. After the first twenty or thirty seconds, the rest became redundant and not needed. It's stuff like this that contribute to the massive length of the film. Stuff that does nothing, save the initial few seconds, to move the story forward.
At the end of the day, I'm not really sure what else to write about this movie. The cast all did great work. That was never the issue. The problem came from the length and confusing nature of the film itself. The massive use of filters. The sleepy feeling you/I got when watching. Yet a lot of those same qualities also constituted the good aspects of the film. It's ability to keep you watching. That very cool trance like state. One thing is for certain, this movie will "not" be for everyone. Hell. I'm not even sure it was for me. But I can't ignore that magical quality. I couldn't ignore my desire to keep watching. For that, I have no problems with my personal rating, and understand this write-up is probably a rambling mess. I just don't really know how else to put things - except to write this is a solid two and a half stars. More for the unusual and catchy presentation than anything else.