Time heals all wounds, and so do boats if Chris Eyre’s absurdly pretentious character study is to be believed. A man known only as the Young Mariner (Josh Lucas)—yeah, it’s that kind of movie—shuffles into the first of the film’s many glum-gray sequences. He’s clearly carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, and he’s just purchased a rusted, rickety sailboat that embodies on the outside what he must feel inside. We won’t discover what’s eating him until a climactic melodramatic-screaming-face flashback (ludicrous in every detail). Until then, the YM stares sorrowfully at the horizon, slowly fixes his ragged vessel, and rebuilds his shattered social skills with the help of, wait for it, the Waitress (Ayelet Zurer) and the Ancient Mariner (James Cromwell).
Hide Away’s hollowness—the original title was the eye-rolling A Year in Mooring—isn’t immediately apparent. Scenes proceed elliptically, with a lot of hypnotic long takes and moody fades that collapse the passage of months into the blink of an eye and build an initially intriguing air of mystery. Most riveting is the YM’s strangely reticent, uncomfortably intimate interactions with the checkout girl at a local supermarket—ultimately the only one of the narrative threads that feels truly, profoundly ambiguous in the ’70s cinema vein that Eyre strives to emulate. Otherwise, this is a man-versus-nature parable heavy on the sappy existentialism that’s very much of our time. Call it Nicholas Sparks’s The Grey.
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