Walt is a writer who got frustrated with his latest book and burned it in an old coffee can. After throwing himself into a fit of depression and alcoholism, Walt learns of a book that exists – the Nuada, a Rosetta Stone for authors. This ancient text will unlock the “key to authorship.”
“Nuada” tells the story of a writer, which is about as original as telling the story of an independent filmmaker. Writing is not exactly a thrilling profession, yet films are constantly made about them. Take it from me: there’s not a whole lot of action in the lives of most writers, except for the action that happens on the keys of the word processor.
Making a story about books exciting is not impossible. In fact, horror fiction is replete with stories of sacred books, from the grand grimoire to H.P. Lovecraft’s Necronomicon. It is what is in these books that fuels the excitement of the plot. In “Nuada,” you easily lose track of the fact that the book unlocks the secrets of writing and begin to imagine it has a much deeper significance. However, Nuada is no Necronomicon.
“Nuada” is filled with twists and turns – a little too many, in fact. There are a lot of characters to digest in the film, and more are introduced routinely throughout. Everyone is setting everyone else up for a double-cross. The focus goes from getting Walt out of depression to finding someone who has Nuada to finding a copy of Nuada to finding out every copy Walt comes across is a fake.
Adding to the confusion, something is out there killing anyone who has anything to do with Nuada. We get a glimpse of the being, which takes form as an apparition similar to an X-Files alien. However, as quickly as this creature appears (and for only one scene), it is gone and not explained.
There is a bit of a back-story with Walt’s college professor, who used to be involved in a writing circle that searched for Nuada. However, this history is unclear and some is told with a weak device of torn digital pages on the screen that don’t quite make sense.
Also, there is a rival writer – Walt’s own Christopher Marlowe – who is eyeball deep in money and women from a lucrative best-selling career. Big surprise: he, too, is in search of Nuada.
Walt, while a weak character (finding himself waking up from a drunken or drugged stupor three times in the entire film) offers little empathy. His girlfriend breaks up with him in the first act, and she runs into him a little later for a forgettable scene on the college campus. However, beyond that, she disappears into the vapor like the smoke from Walt’s book he burned.
By the end, you really don’t care a whole lot for Walt, which is tough on a film when that’s your lead.