Movie Reviews 322 – Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010)

I’m not sure how I ended up deciding to buy my Beyond the Black Rainbow DVD from my deep discount supplier, but even for the measly $1.50 I paid I feel I was robbed. I knew nothing about the film except perhaps from its brief IMDB description and rating which was enticing enough, but now I feel that perhaps a more thorough search was warranted. As is usually the case, I cannot say this movie was 100% bad, but the few good things were nowhere near enough to make up for the bad, and also as usual I need to explain a few things.

Let’s be clear right from the start on one point. This is an art film. That in itself is not a problem for me although I confess I prefer conventional films with linear plots, fleshed out characters and a modicum of a decent story. This film fails on all three accounts. I enjoy art films in small doses like Bunũel’s Un Chien Andalou, or more rounded art films like a Bergman or a Fellini. Give me a Kurosawa, Truffaut or Lynch any day. But the plot here can basically summed up in two seconds and the rest is all non-verbal contemplation and visual razzle-dazzle.

What little there is of story consists of a scientist/preacher creating the Arboria Institute, a human nirvana of sedated happiness and joy. Now elderly and heavily sedated himself, Dr. Arboria is under the control of Barry (Michael Rogers), a man obsessed with Elena (Eva Allen) Arboria’s sole catatonic occupant. Elena manages to escape to discover the lush, green world awaiting outside. Add about five minutes of dialogue, a space-suited, laser touting guard, phone conversations with metalic grinding sounds, and a giant self lit plastic pyramid in a room to what I’ve described and Tadah! Cue the end credits.To give you a sense of what you’re in for, the dialog is so infrequent we only get to hear a third person speak at the 30 minute mark, and that is one of the Elena one of the two main characters.

I did say there was some good didn’t I? The one thing that was at times appealing were the visuals which the filmmakers obviously put a lot of effort into. While the aesthetics are often barren and empty much like THX-1138, the cinematography also often employed a neon palette with futuristic implements. The varied angles and extensive use of mirrors and mirror effects on glass panes and flooring resulted in simulated split image layouts. This would have been fine for a short film, but in a feature with little else to offer it too became repetitive and bland.

On thing that was clear was that director Panos Cosmatos must be a huge fan of the late, great Stanley Kubrick as he drops references and even outright steals lines from 2001 A Space Odyssey. So evident was this reverence that he even stole the zero gravity room rotation bit. I wish the director actually had paid more attention as to how Kubrick made great films since the HAL 9000 computer had more personality than anyone in this film. I was just waiting for an embryo closeup scene and I swear there is even a near swipe on that. Homage is one thing, mimicking and copying are another.

I have to say that this was one tough movie to watch. I rarely cut out on a movie despite it being not to my liking, being an optimistic viewer who patiently waits and hopes that a film will turn a corner and deliver. Under normal circumstances I think I would have bailed out on this one but I really hoped to do a review thinking this was an entirely different type of film. As my hopes dimmed in the first few minutes I began thinking about swapping discs with Scorsese’s Mean Streets, one of the few of Marty’s I have yet to watch. A few minutes later, any Film Noir sounded good. Things got a little more desperate at the twenty minute mark as I began to wonder about those early Jackie Chan films sitting on my shelves. But by the half hour mark even a Pauly Shore flick was starting to sound good to me. How low could I go? But I toughed it out for this review. Not sure if it was worth it but the way I figure it you readers owe me one!

Advertisements

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: