Insomniac horror story Fade’s verbose, introspective narrations and copious footage of actors looking thoughtfully askance and then, apropos of nothing, hurling furniture, place it firmly in the category of indulgent arthouse bathos. The audience, an afterthought already, waits a full half-hour before getting its first clue that the main character is deteriorating into dementia because of a mysterious sleeplessness disease. Meanwhile, rambling voice-overs from the journal of protagonist Artie (David Connolly) sound like a 2 a.m. conversation with a first-year philosophy major: Who am I writing for? Why do I write? What is a journal? All of the angst and self-loathing is set to a cacophony of dissonant, industrial slashes and crashes and a few bangs on the piano, interspersed with a breathy female singer cooing lyrics like “I wonder why…what was true has become a lie…"
The film picks up a bit of momentum, though, when the fittingly non-chronological narrative begins and the voiceovers are replaced by synthesizer notes and ominous percussion. Artie’s wife Anna (Sarah Lassez) deals with her conflicting sadness, anger and relief as Artie’s physical and mental health deteriorates. In a string of visual metaphors, Artie attempts suicide, masturbation and walking up the down escalator, all to no avail. Time and reality are jumbled, and in the end you can’t tell if the whole ordeal was just a bad dream (if you still care to contemplate the movie at all).