Monuments, a new film from writer/director Jack C. Newell, centers on Ted (David Sullivan), a collee professor who is struggling to deal with the death of his wife Laura (Marguerite Moreau), while being haunted by her in a very literal way. It’s a smart, warm, and reflective film about love, loss, and how to move on after trauma. The film, out next week, takes place in a heightened, Twin Peaks kind of world, where most of the characters are strange or “off” in some way, and nobody seems to notice except for Ted. It’s also stylistically shot, moving the audience through time and withholding certain bits of key information until it’s needed later.
Is it science fiction? Not as such, no. And while it’s nowhere near as complex as Primer was, Sullivan, who starred in the cult classic, understands why audiences would make a connection there.
“In Primer, every moment that you witness in that person’s experienced is that person’s present moment,” Sullivan told ComicBook. “Similarly, in Monuments, when you experience Ted having a moment, that’s his present moment. It’s rare to shoot a movie in sequence, from the first page all the way to the last page everyday as you’re moving along with the story. It’s rare, and almost impossible to do, unless you have limited locations. But you’re trained really early on to take each scene and each moment as that present, given moment. Yes, you know where your character is headed, and where your character is coming from, but that’s just information that you use in order to let yourself be insanely present.”
In Monuments, Ted sees his wife’s ghost. He can talk to her, ask her questions he doesn’t know the answer to, and even physically make contact with her — but nobody else in the film can, and Ted makes no effort to convince anyone around him of the reality he’s dealing with. That can result in everything from some fun comedic moments to a frustrating point where he’s jumped by “Howl” (Javier Muñoz), a local yokel who was obsessed with Ted’s wife before her death and now harasses him throughout the movie in the hopes of scoring points with Laura’s family.
Even that strange relationship ended up being fodder for Newell’s mission for the film, which seemed to be delivering frustration up front, to maximize satisfaction as the movie neared a close
“When I read just page by page by page, I’m like, ‘Damn it. When is Ted going to eventually stand up to this guy?'” Sullivan admitted. But when the story finally resolved itself, he admitted, “Just being present as I’m reading the script, I experienced that surprise just like the rest of the audience.”
Monuments will be available On Demand and Digital on August 3rd.