Screened as part of NZIFF 2003
The listless love lives and insecure domestic arrangements of a group of Wellington 20-somethings are scrutinised with insight and irony in I Think I’m Going, which derives its telling title from the charmless words of the spent lover who’d suddenly prefer to be alone. There’s a streak of male self-recrimination running through this picture, but it lies more in the choice of subject than in the tone, which is wryly absurdist, more forlorn than judgemental. At the beginning of the film, university student Will starts an affair which he will spend the rest of the movie concealing from his trusting girlfriend Sarah. Any uneasiness Sarah may be feeling blurs with the onset of an unspecified illness. Will vacillates between not quite nursing her and making impetuous late-night calls on Tracy, whose health is robust. There’s a pampered, moody-pup quality to Will, but whether you laugh at his pained Mr Inscrutable routines or want to throttle him is not something the filmmakers attempt to decide for you. The other principal male, Thomas, is a porn addict, thrown out by his girlfriend Olivia after she discovers the stash of hardcore in their bedroom. Thomas’ spasmodic attempts to beat masturbation are not assisted by the arrival of a too-good-to-be-happening-to-me new suitor in Olivia’s life. These fraught relationships with all their attendant evasions are embedded in a much wider set of social relations and inter-flat connections, the fluidity of which is perfectly characterised in the elusive person of Ben, a flatmate who has absconded owing rent money.
25-year-old writer/director Alexander Greenhough and his key collaborators, co-writer Richard Whyte and cinematographer/editor Elric Kane, have the temerity to announce their talents in a feature that’s 2½ hours long; and the assurance and formal grace to make their appearance a welcome one. The sense of real time and place in which these dramas fluctuate and unwind is matched by the realistic awkwardness of the unacknowledged or contradictory feelings at play. The placid, aesthetic framing of space, the long, long takes, and the clean disruptive cutting encourage and reward an almost contemplative observation of human behaviour. The post-coital solitude of the 20-something male is the characteristic mode of I Think I’m Going, but no film containing so much pre-coital chicanery could ever be watched with an entirely straight face. — BG