The film took about two years to completely finish shooting because Lodge Kerrigan, the director, was constantly running out of money. The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival.
The film begins with abstract images and sounds in the director's interpretation of schizphrenia. Peter Winter has recently been released from a mental institution and upon his release, must try to experience and understand a world that is all but foreign to him.
Beginning the search for his daughter Nicole (Jennifer MacDonald), Peter's car is hit by a soccer ball. A young girl looks from beyond his windshield at him, and he gets out of the car. No actual images of the girl are shown after Peter exits his car, but the screams of a young girl are heard as if Peter is beating her. He carries a large orange bag into his trunk, and the audience is meant to presume that Peter killed this little girl.
Winter returns home, where sounds invade his very being, and he is never completely at rest. He believes that there is a transmitter beneath the skin on his head and he proceeds to remove it. Peter is also disturbed by mirrors, and typically covers up any mirrors that he can access.
The car that Peter drives becomes encased in newspaper, and he isolates himself from the outside world. Peter comes back home to find his mother Mrs. Winter (Megan Owen) still very disturbed about Peter's schizophrenia. She still treats Peter as a child, and does not want him to find his daughter.
Peter, through his travels, becomes wrapped up in the investigation of the murder of another young girl. Jack McNally (Robert Albert), the detective on the case, is stymied because there is almost no evidence at the scene of the crime. Peter becomes a suspect in the case, but nothing found at the crime scene or in Peter's hotel room can link him to the murder.
That does not stop the detective from following Peter after he kidnaps his daughter from her adoptive mother. Just as Peter begins to reconcile himself with his daughter, McNally shows up, desperate to take Peter in as the murderer. Peter foolishly takes out a gun and aims it at the police officer to try to protect his daughter from McNally. McNally, believing that what he is seeing is the dead body of Peter's daughter, opens fire on Peter, killing him.
He finds the girl to be safe and fires Peter's gun in the air, so that he would not be charged for shooting a man unnecessarily. He then opens the orange bag and finds nothing but newspaper inside.Peter Greene – Peter Winter
Alice Levitt – Girl with Ball
Megan Owen – Mrs. Winter
Jennifer MacDonald – Nicole Winter
Molly Castelloe – Melinda Frayne
Jill Chamberlain – Teenager in Motel
Agathe Leclerc – Murdered Girl
Robert Albert – Jack McNally
Roget Joly – Police Photographer
René Beaudin – Boy on Bicycle
J. Dixon Byrne – Dr. Michaels
Eliot Rockett – Man on Ladder / Man in Jeep
Lodge Kerrigan: "I really tried to examine the subjective reality of someone who suffered from schizophrenia, to try to put the audience in that position to experience how I imagined the symptoms to be: auditory hallucinations, heightened paranoia, dissociative feelings, anxiety."
"I set it up that Peter, who suffers from schizophrenia, could be the killer, leading the audience down that path, but I withhold proof. There's no conclusive evidence that he is and if people feel that he's guilty, I hope that the picture holds them responsible for drawing that conclusion."
Roger Ebert awarded the film with 3 and a half stars out of four and described it as a film for "anyone with a serious interest in schizophrenia or, for that matter, in film" and praised Greene's performance. The film enjoys a 90% positive score on Rotten Tomatoes. The film has been cited as a favorite by filmmaker John Waters, who presented it as his annual selection within the 2000 Maryland Film Festival.