Monday 23 July 2012

Review: Beyond The Black Rainbow

Year: 2010 (2012 U.K release)
Director: Panos Cosmatos
Screenplay: Panos Cosmatos
Starring: Eva Allan, Michael Rogers

Synopsis is here

Due to Twitter, Rotten Tomatoes and every other social network, app or message board going, I've become even more aware of disappointment in movies as of late. Because anyone who writes about film is an idiot and can't be trusted, many have to rely on the ever trustworthy marketing committees to guide them towards the correct films. Due to amount of money spent on the larger films, the amount of push behind them is great. So often, there's bound to be a few bitter pill for some to swallow when they pay their hard earned cash for this weeks "most anticipated movie of the year."

The reason why I'm padding this review out is because one my biggest film disappointment this year is Beyond the Black Rainbow. A film that is, visually, one of the most uncompromising visions I've seen in recent times. Very frame seems to throb in a way that feels similar to the sparse industrial landscape of Eraserhead. The film is so deliberate in its style, tone and pace that it's beyond admirable. An early sequence which explores the reason why our heroine is encased in this quasi-futuristic, new age prison is gorgeous in its subtlety. The film is unbelievably bold with its imagery and sound. I can see its synth soundtrack and humming sound design being dissected by sound geeks at universities.

And yet, despite this, the film didn't do enough to engage me fully. The prospect is tantalising, but it's overtly deliberate pacing, and obtuse telling of its simple plot did little to stir. A film like this doesn't have to be explicit but for the most part, Beyond the Black Rainbow, does little to bring about any investment. The film doesn't advance further past it's first reveal and when thing begin to accelerate, the film finishes. Hinting once on something grand, but not really delivering. The film is littered with such moments. I don't need to know everything, but it would be brilliant to know more. Meanwhile both Eva Allan and Micheal Rogers turn in muted and expressive performances, but their gestures feel empty as the film withholds so much.

Maybe i was fooled by the films well presented trailer, which utilises the films best moments. Reminding me that the film could have been tightened for pace, as opposed to forcing an endless barrage of fading transitions. Beyond the Black Rainbow has enough plot for 30 minutes but is extended to feature length. The films tone and atmosphere is so bold that I would still feel its pulse if it was shorter. Kudos to Cosmatos for a cult vision that out-Trons Tron for way less money, unfortunately I anticipated too much.