by Groovinator, The Cynical Cyborg
Ever since I saw Mandy, I have taken an interest in the work of Panos Cosmatos. His cinematic direction is gorgeous, and sometimes evokes the earlier works of Stanly Kubrick in my opinion. Panos Cosmatos is not new to the industry, his father directed Tombstone, my favorite western movie ever. However, Panos IS new as a director. Currently he only has one other film, Beyond the Black Rainbow.
What is this movie about? I can’t even tell without reading the IMDB description. Apparently it is about young woman trying to escape from a sophisticated medical institution that also happens to be a secluded commune. And then stuff happens.
The cinematography from Mandy is definitely present here. It is the same long form, slow burn topped with swelling soundtrack that we experienced in that movie. However this one is much more cryptic. The LSD them is present here as well, but over emphasized to the point of hysteria. I didn’t enjoy this movie as much as Mandy, because scenes linger on for what seems like an eternity and then just stop abruptly. There is no transitional material here.
There are some flashbacks that involve the head doctor of the facility, but any shred of motivation here, is extremely muddled. The fact that most art house films get a bad rap for style over substance is not helped by this movie, because it is EXACTLY that. At some point for the sake of my own sanity, it would have been nice to have even a brief sense of story, plot, or direction. I am not expecting dumb hand holding, but when so much focus is on the angle, and lighting of every shot, that the story takes a back seat to your movie…I have a problem.
Beyond the Black rainbow had many scenes where a person would hold still for several minutes while the electronic synthesizer based soundtrack would swell, and swell. The affect this had, was putting me to sleep. I was hyper when I put this movie on, but it literally put me to sleep, and I was unable to finish it. It was just too much of a chore to get through. Maybe someday, I will finish it, but I have to admit that my interest in this movie has dissipated now. As a background to some of your favorite music, this movie would be great. It would be awesome to have it playing in the back ground of a rave, or a club. It would make a fantastic music video. However watching this as a traditional movie without any chemicals to enhance it, it is a slog to get through. I do think Panos Cosmatos has a bright future, and I WILL continue to watch his works in the future, but I doubt I will return to this one. I feel kind of guilty for being bored, and put to sleep, but then again, I never claimed to be an art house movie buff. I am giving this movie a 1 out of 5 cheese curds. This is your typical director’s first movie. Not all directors’s hit it out of the ball park on the first try, but it IS a good showcase of his ability to direct, and frame each scene as a work of art. I just hope that in the future, he works on story, and pacing more.