Rick Moody, a novelist and short story writer, is the author of the novels The Ice Storm (1994), Purple America (1997), and Hotels of North America (2015), among others, and the short story collections Demonology (2001) and Right Livelihoods (2007), and a memoir, The Black Veil (2002). (January 2020)
Arguably, there is no Other, in all contemporary film and literature, that is as firmly lodged in the category of Outsider as the contemporary schizophrenic. You know you are seeing a film that will deal with schizophrenics by virtue of a bundle of tired repetitions: electroconvulsive shock therapy, screaming in the corridors, people being sprayed with a hose in lieu of showering themselves, straitjackets, solitary confinement. All these signal that we have left the place of civilization entirely. But, in actual fact, civilization can and does contain their suffering, a suffering much more complex than one film can manage. And yet the film that contends with this does us all a real service.