The name is a mystery that creates an unpleasant miasma over everything that happens. A sepia-tinted photograph of Victorian explorer Henry Morton Stanley (known as «Dr. Livingston, I presume?») hangs on the wall, and Maria is drawn to her, looking at Stanley as if looking for a message. On a nearby booth sits a mannequin head in a pith helmet. The helmet comes into play in one of the trials. Henry Morton Stanley was an integral part of the Belgian colonization of the Congo and in 1883 he established a small trading post that eventually developed into the city named Stanleyville after him (the city was renamed Kisangani). Stanley’s posthumous reputation is extremely controversial and is still debated, but none of this is included in the script for Stanleyville, co-written by McCabe-Locos and Rob Benvey. So what is really going on here? There are intriguing possibilities – thought experiments – but they are more like speculation than anything clearly stated. Stanleyville hides more than it shows.
As the five members descend into anarchy, the Homunculus sometimes returns to challenge them again. Sometimes it seems like he’s just making things up. Does he even know what he’s talking about? Richings is a busy character actor, his appearance is so unique that he can fit into any era and in any context, supernatural or realistic. He is very different. Supernatural fans will remember his performance as «Death» for several seasons as he sauntered through chaos that was at times meek and at times extremely frightening. Once you see his face, you will not forget him. Here he mutters his corporatized New Age dialect as if he’s making it up on the fly, and he’s not at all bothered by the chaos unfolding before him.
What is this competition? How were these people selected? What does this have to do with anything? Who is a Homunculus? «Stanleyville» doesn’t speak. It can be frustrating, like the script is playing cat and mouse with us, and sometimes the overall characters are a bit predictable. The unraveling of each individual goes like clockwork. The bottom line is how we deceive ourselves if we think that «society» is something solid. Below, complete chaos rages, every man for himself. Even in a fictional situation like the Stanford Prison Experiment, even when the prize is a pathetic orange SUV (not, say, a million dollars), monsters can be born. Nobody is safe.
Now he plays in theaters.