Monday, October 1, 2012

Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010)

Beyond the Black Rainbow arrived just in time to be added as the second movie in a Friday Night Double Feature, following The Tall Man.  As usual, I knew nothing about this movie, save for the facts that it was sci-fi, an 80s throwback, and mind-bending--tags added by Netflix.  Thus I expected something trippy and oldschool, but I didn't expect an above-average arthouse-style mind-explosion!

What I took away in terms of the story was that there's a girl who has been held captive in a 2001: A Space Odyssey-esque facility her entire life, and there's her psychiatrist who has been doing some really far-out stuff with her.  That's all one needs to know for the plot, and I think the Netflix envelope says as much.  All of the plot's complexities and subplots and twists will steadily make their appearances, enveloped within a panoply of cerebral, dreamlike effects.  It's safe to say this is a movie most will agree that one must be in the right frame of mind to watch.

The visual elements of this movie are incredible.  Absolutely incredible!  Rich colors à la early Argento--Suspiria, for example.  During sequences of artistic mastery, the pacing is slowed way down, and we are subjected to stunning, stupor-inducing visuals.  At times, you will mutter what the...? but your bafflement, your questioning will trail off because you will be sitting on the edge of the couch, wide-eyed, unblinking, taken hostage by the meticulously edited effects.  There are even a few righteous scenes of bloodspraying that aptly pay that 80s homage.  Even if there wasn't a plot, I would've loved this movie just for the experience it delivers.

The acting is phenomenal.  The cast is minimal: really just the psychiatrist (Michael Rogers) and the patient/captive (Eva Allan).  From start to finish, Rogers shines, albeit blackly, as an obsessive maniac with a violent bent, and Allan shines as the tender, beautiful innocence upon which the former character is subjecting his demented plans (wait till you see the sketches!).  The initial counseling session is properly paced to establish the tense emotions of the two characters that will soon burst forth and send the movie spiraling into a myriad directions.

Overall, Beyond the Black Rainbow is a great movie.  Very well put together; and a great experience for the viewer.  It is, however, one of those movies one must be in the mood for.  I can see it being relegated to boring, confusing, or even pretentious by those not in the right mood--and I don't (necessarily) mean dropping acid.  When you have time and you're not sleepy (because some of the sequences are drawn out in the manner of a Ti West film) and you're in the mood for an artistic, psychological, visually-stunning cinematic experience, just pop this little treat in and enjoy!

Rating: 4/5

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