A Strange new world

Forget everything you think you know. Dr. Strange thrusts us down a beautiful and phantasmagorical rabbit hole that merges the reality we know with the multiple realities contained in the Multiverse.

Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game) is a gifted brain surgeon. He is a rock star in his field, he:

  • lives in a penthouse suite
  • has a wardrobe of luxury watches
  • drives a Lamborghini Huracan.

Strange has as much disdain for the rules of the road as he has for the ignorance of his less-talented peers.

The film opens with numerous displays of both his brilliance and his arrogance, but, oh, how the mighty is about to fall.

In a near fatal car accident caused because he was texting, the famous neurosurgeon awakens in a hospital to find his hands have been damaged beyond repair.

Desperate to regain the use of his hands and frustrated by western medicine’s inability to create the miracle he needs, Strange learns of a paraplegic who miraculously regained his ability to walk after going to a temple in Nepal.

Selling the last of his possessions, Strange makes a pilgrimage to the mysterious Kamar-Taj cabal and finds himself in the presence of The Ancient One (brilliantly played by Tilda Swinton – Hail! Caesar).

Accustomed to being the smartest one in the room, Strange tries to make sense out of the mysterious ways of the sect and dismisses a lot of their ways as things he could buy in a gift shop.

As it turns out, he doesn’t know much. The Ancient One chastises him for his ego and pushes his spirit out of his physical body.

His “tour of the Universe” spirits him through the cosmos and black holes, but also into the depths of his own eye. 

The journey culminates with Strange being swarmed by countless hands sprouting even more hands from each finger. (Warning: Do not drop acid and watch this film. Seriously.)  

Strange is forever changed and wants to know more. He becomes an avid learner as his inner nerd is determined to become the smartest student in the place.

After what might be weeks or months, we aren’t sure, but it’s long enough for him to give himself a spiffy Tony Stark-esque beard, Strange acquires enough wizardly skills to start delving into the higher level magic books that involve the ability to bend and control time. 

Add his new-found, time-bending skill to a happenstance meeting with an ancient cloak that not only gives him the ability to fly, but will also fight villains on his behalf and you have the makings of a unique super hero. 

As in all Marvel movies, the action boils down to a rip-roaring battle of good vs. evil where the future of the Earth hangs in the balance.

This time, the ending is just trippy and thought provoking enough that we don’t really mind the predictable plot.

In a year where big budget CGI is now commonplace, Dr. Strange uses the technology to full advantage.

In scenes that feel like Alice In Wonderland marauding through an M.C. Escher painting, worlds and realities shift with the wave of a hand. 

Gravity, time and reality planes all become weapons during the movie’s ground breaking magical brawls.

Cumberbatch is a fantastic anti-hero and is a character we love to hate at the beginning of the film. Watching him evolve and grow into his new found abilities is exciting and touching.

At every turn, we believe his struggle and his resistance to absorb the shifts he endures.

Rachel McAdams (Spotlight) is lovely, intelligent and charming as his love interest, Dr. Christine Palmer.

There is solid casting all around with actors Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo (12 Years a Slave) and Benedict Wong as Wong (The Martian) for team Strange and Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal, TV) as Kaecilius the good guy turned bad villain.

Jon Spaihts (Prometheus) and Director Scott Derrickson deserve major kudos for some excellent script writing as the film provides many moments that will make you laugh and ponder.

“We never lose our demons, we only learn to live above them.”

Dr. Strange is strange – and different. It is one of the better films so far this year and right now, we could all use a little hopeful diversion. 

I give this film 4 out of 5 hearts.

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About the Author

Kim Foreman-Rhindress is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and London Western Conservatory of music for piano and voice. 

Kim has been performing in theatre and film for over 30 years in Canada, NYC, Palm Beach, Los Angeles, and the Netherlands. She has written several plays which have been produced in Canada and the U.S., and is the founder of Kelowna Voice Lab - helping people find their voice, be it singing or acting. 

A working musician, she performs regularly in Kelowna with her husband, Jim Rhindress, in an acoustic duo Smitten, and with her vintage trio Kitsch 'n Sync.  

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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