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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After watching Easy Rider for the 8th time the other day, I honestly
thought the trip scene in that movie couldn't be beaten. This is
despite loving Enter The Void too. But I have to say, this movie is the
most trippy and enjoyable film I've seen in ages. The scene in black n
white is absolute breaking taking, even if you have no idea of what's
going on. I really wish I saw this on the big screen, the soundtrack,
lighting and mood is sensational.
If you like trippy films this is a must see. You'll love it.
A total work of art.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
i originally posted this as a response to a "what was this movie about"
thread. i decided to add it as review as well, with a quick "review"
preface. this was, without question, the single slowest film i have
ever endured. i tend to prefer slower movies, and previous to BBR, that
list probably consisted of 2001 and Fitzcarraldo. as i have yet to give
Begotten a full viewing, i have to qualify that it is a likely
contender with BBR. if this is not a deterrent for you, than BBR is
most certainly worth a viewing.
while i'm not above missing things in film, i genuinely believe this film lacked the subtext that existed in - as an obvious example - 2001, making it laborious to watch on a level rivaling Begotten. my feeling is that if you're going to put out something this intensely slow-paced - regardless of the undeniable aesthetic beauty, you need to have some serious subtext going on to give the viewer something to ponder. and while the ambiguity of plot certainly raised questions in BBR, i simply don't believe there were enough answers - real or subjective - to warrant the degree of introspective duration that i and my friends endured. needless to say, the "should've taken acid before i watched this" level for BBR was quite high for me, personally. quite simply, i'm not so sure there was adequate intellectual substance - visceral enhancement may be required.
this lack of subtext which i perceived - and which i think most other responders to this thread seem to have agreed on implicitly with their minimal input - is the only real relation that my rant has to this thread. was it just me or did BBR seem so much like an homage? the most obvious feeling one gets is that of 2001, which my fellow film-geeks have already noted. aesthetic similarities ("modern" sci-fi set design which i feel pinnacled with 2001) as well as a seeming lack of climax. climax was so frequently reliant on an intense soundtrack with long, anti-climatic shots,which reminded me also of Kubrick's The Shining as well. the scenes outside of the lab served to break up the claustrophobia which was also a theme in The Shining, and this liberation was complete in the finale. at that point the filmmaker almost seemed to switch genres, moving into a period horror movie. i love (with no sarcasm intended) being tricked into the anticipation of change of pace only to be disappointed.
taken as a whole, the decision to make this a period film seems to have no other purpose other than to convey a love for those wonderful late 60's/70's/80's sci-fi films whose "futuristic" elements allow one to so easily date said films in an almost comical manner. of course i assume that the filmmaker had dystopic-prisoner-of-society pieces such as Soylent Green, Farenheight 451, A Clockwork Orange, THX, Omega Man, Logan's Run (the list goes on) somewhere in his mind. finally, we have to mention Bladerunner. the soundtrack for BBR (amazing i should note) - though qualitatively different - kept Vangelis' groundbreaking soundtrack in the back of the mind. the originality and tone (superficially, they were both quite unique and creative in their use of electronics) i think force comparison. and then there was the dynamic in both films of the old, elusive man of power and his prodigal automaton, the parallel forced upon the viewer in an "of course" moment with an almost identical eye-gouging shot (some Event Horizon in there?).
with all my dull commentary, i return to a previous comment that there are no answers. in summary, i think it was a beautiful and meditative homage. though certainly not lacking in originality, this originality came largely from aesthetic regions, and it looks to me like the author of this thread probably understood the plot as much as anyone else might. to me the author of this thread probably understood the plot as much as anyone else might.
Somebody was on some serious drugs, sorry I wasted my time watching this. It was whacked and weird and I cannot believe it even got 3 stars on Amazon. I felt it had no point. I guess people like my son who watches strange movies like this may like it because they're always trying to figure out what it "really" means and unfortunately it's usually nothing other then a poorly made movie. Yes there were some okay things about it like the sound effects and what not but all in all, I didn't really feel like it made any sense at all, maybe that's why some people liked it. According to another review I read it was a very low budget film, maybe that's why it was so bad, I don't know, but what I do know is I wasted two hours on a bizarre, freaky, pointless movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
How exactly does one review something like "Beyond the Black Rainbow,"
a movie that intentionally overwhelms our senses without ever once
telling us what it's about? In times like this, I turn to that most
reliable of critical copouts, namely the annoyingly vague assessment
that the film is an experience. When I go that route, it generally
means that, although I cannot begin to interpret the visuals, the
characters, or the thematic subtexts, I still responded well to the
look, the atmosphere, and the sheer audacity of the filmmakers. It's an
experimental film, no question, but I'm forced to wonder what genre has
been experimented with. It's not quite science fiction, not quite a
psychological thriller, not quite a horror movie, not quite a
supernatural fable; categorizing this movie is a challenge worthy of a
film student's graduate thesis.
Its overall production design is most definitely rooted in the hard science fiction films of the 1970s, with lots of shiny, sterile plastic and chrome surfaces in minimalist chambers. The stark whiteness of the walls, floor, and ceilings is often times offset by a bath of warm red light. Big square buttons light up red and green yet are not labeled. Even the way the film sounds is indicative of those earlier films; in between short bursts of futuristic beeps and boops rests Jeremy Schmidt's original score, essentially a mixture of atonal synthesizer effects with occasional melodic overtones. The editing is more in line with the existential art house films of the late 1960s, much of the imagery transformed into baffling yet hypnotic psychedelic dreamscapes.
The plot is the damnedest of any recent film I know of, starting out obscure and becoming increasingly unclear of itself with the passage of each scene. Taking place in an alternate version of the year 1983, we open with a projected film hosted by Dr. Mercurio Arboria (Scott Hylands), the founder of the Arboria Institute, which combines neuroscience with homeopathic medicine. In between images of trees and nebulous galaxies, Arboria explains that it's all in the name of finding a path towards happiness and inner peace. We then meet the head of the research department, Dr. Barry Nyle (Michael Rogers), who has taken great interest in his test subject, a teenage girl named Elena (Eva Allen). She stares blankly at the two-way mirror separating Nyle from her, not saying a word, appearing totally empty. Nyle asks questions through a microphone in a creepy monotone lull, his wide eyes betraying a disturbing lustful obsession.
It seems he controls her mind via a huge diamond-shaped light, which flashes like a siren while electronic rumbles fill the air. He also occasionally drugs her with a white vapor released directly over the diamond. He questions her about her unseen mother, and even teases her with promises of a photograph. Perhaps because of his experiments, or perhaps because she was simply born that way, she has limited but deadly telekinetic powers. We never really learn the truth of Elena's existence, although we are shown a flashback to 1966, which is actually less of a flashback and more of a cinematic acid trip. No amount of written description would do it justice. I will say that we see a younger version of Nyle receiving a droplet of fluid on his tongue, after which he immerses himself in a pool of black goo, emerges gasping for air, advances on a crying woman, and is suddenly holding a newborn baby.
The film intercuts between Elena's attempts to escape the building and Nyle's personal life. Mind you, we're only given obscure scraps. We know that he periodically takes blue-colored capsules and that he lives with an elderly woman named Rosemary (Marilyn Norry), who I believe is supposed to be his mother. We know that, physically speaking, he isn't what he initially appears to be, and of that, I will say no more. We see him participating in an assisted suicide at one point, and yet again, I'm really not sure what this particular scene was supposed to represent. Elena, meanwhile, works her way through a series of vents, shafts, and corridors, at one point nearly being overtaken by a frightening mutant. When she finally breaks out, she wanders aimlessly through mud-caked fields of tall grass. Unfortunately, she doesn't yet remember that Nyle has injected a tracking device into her neck.
Where exactly does this story take place? For all I know, on another planet. Indeed, the logic that went into making this movie is nothing if not otherworldly. Despite the fact that its plot went completely over my head, I most definitely have a fondness for "Beyond the Black Rainbow." It's a triumph of craft, not so much in regards to flashy special effects but more so along the lines of camera tricks, set design, and avant-garde approaches to editing. First-time writer and director Panos Cosmatos is clearly in love with the filmmaking technique and unencumbered by the constraints of conventional narratives. He isn't telling us a story so much as immersing us in a world of his own creation. As maddeningly abstract as the experience will undoubtedly be for some, let it not be said that it will soon be forgotten.
-- Chris Pandolfi (www.atatheaternearyou.net)
For starters, around 97 % of this movie was filmed out of focus, I did
the math, because I had nothing ells to do during this very long and
very boring movie. The soundtrack was basically the amplified sound of
a low- power light bulb and a Tesla coil alternately, and the movie
made no attempt at making any sense. At all.
I see that some reviewers consider each frame to be a work of art. This might be true, but then it is the longest 103 minutes of unrelated, sensory-mocking works of art that I have ever experienced.
I think, generally, that if you want to make a movie, you should think of a story you would like to tell. It might have a beginning and an ending, maybe even something going on in the middle. This movie did not have that, nothing happened in the first 4/5 of the film and only in the very last minutes did the advertised plot take place. When I say that nothing happened, it is to be considered a very serious statement. The first scenes of "once upon a time in the west" with the noisy windmill has about 25.000 times more action than the first 90 minutes of this movie.
The next thing a movie-maker might consider doing, is placing a number of characters in his/her movie. A character could be described as a consistent (no luck there) personality with reasons, motivations or justifications for his/her actions (Don't even get me started on how that is not a part of this movie).
You might also consider giving you characters some lines to bring out their personality to the viewer (honestly, almost any lines but these would have done well) and maybe engage the different characters in meaningful(well, they don't really have to be that meaningful) conversations to bring forward the plot or clear up the characters motives(nope, none of that ether).
At the end of the day, filming an out of focus quiet girl with no facial expression in a room with a strange red light to the soundtrack of a broken light bulb for an obscene amount of time, simply cannot(in my book) be considered making a movie.
Im sorry guys, but I have to call Worst movie ever.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Muddled 'arty' science-fiction / horror. There is no proper narrative structure to this mess it tries to be clever by attempting to emulate the visual style of '2001: A Space Odyssey' and 'THX 1138'. It fails miserably. The story (as far as I can make out) seems to be a 'Carrie' / 'Altered States' rip-off with a dash of 'Splice' thrown in. It really is a dreadfully boring film to sit through featuring some weird over-lengthy, grainy and over-exposed sequences to pad things out. What little dialog there was was inaudible. For some reason it is set in 1986 with a flashback to 1966 (I think). Why I bothered to sit through this trash it is a complete mystery to me I suppose I kept hoping it would get better.
This is a big call but, I consider this film to be one of the best sci-
fi / horror films I've ever seen.
Stylistically, it owes a lot to Kubrick, Argento and Ridley Scott but still manages to carve a niche of own rather than be bogged down or overwhelmed by these influences.
It looks like it may have been shot on HD but don't let that deter you at all because the cinematography is stunning - there's rarely an "ugly" or bland shot in the entire film and, there's a wonderful texture to some of the images via a really expressive use of light and colour.
The plot itself is sparse much like the sets and the dialogue but this deliberately minimalist approach allows the viewers imagination space to explore possible tangents that could easily have been stifled by excessive detail or explication.
While watching, I had the constant impression that it was an incredibly well planned and considered piece of filmmaking and this feeling mirrors some of the themes explored in the film about manipulation, surveillance and mind control.
The performances from the two lead actors are both on point - the stunning Eva Allan portrays her characters innocence, vulnerability, confusion and determination just beautifully and I'd fully expect to see her in many more lead roles in the future. While Michael Rogers is perfectly cast as the sadistic, troubled and glacial Dr Barry Nyle.
The sound design and music is in thrall to the electronic scores of sci fi/horror films of the late 70's and 80's but there's nary a cheesy synth line to be heard, apart from one brief "Goblin'esque" flourish - it's all tense, brittle and borderline industrial psychedelic noise which only enhances the stifling and hallucinatory mood.
Overall, this is a suspenseful, visceral and thought provoking film, that has some visually awe-inspiring surrealist touches. Through assured pacing the filmmakers have managed to achieve a palpable feeling of eeriness, uncertainty and dread throughout the films duration - lovers of suspenseful, trippy, sci-fi horror will be in raptures.
Much as The Truman Show tells the story of reaching for paradise,
perfection, and happiness through extreme control and psychological
manipulation, as well as the hero's journey of escape from a
manipulated false reality he is born into, beyond the Black Rainbow
tells this story and more, drowning the viewer with tightly controlled
sights and sounds, depriving them of any sense of normalcy, release, or
security. The viewer becomes Cosmatos'cinematic gimp for 110 minutes.
Without doubt, if he had been able to, Cosmatos would have placed you
in a zentai suit and shoved tubes in your nose and mouth controlling
tastes, smells and sensations to further immerse you in his rich story
that's trying to tell you... something. It's one of those movies you'd
most likely have to watch over and over again to understand. But it's
so masterfully creepy, the question becomes is it worth it, when the
same questions can be explored in safer, more accessible ways.
Artistically, the movie is masterful, fibrously rich with intensely deliberate choices cinematic choices. It is told in a language only decipherable by the right-brain, moving entirely beyond simply being symbolic or dream-like imagery. Which, since it's not entirely clear what Cosmatos is doing to your right-brain comes across as tremendously creepy. The pulsing lights and the binaural sounds are technologies actually used to alter consciousness in the real world (dad was into that kind of stuff before he went screw ball); Cosmatos uses them in the movie without any explanation of the effect they're supposed to have on you - which, is hardly consensual, to say the least. Overall, regardless of existential or potential literary merit, the movie comes across as a cinematic rape.
Literarily speaking I found the resolution of the story grotesquely unfulfilling - it's almost mind blowing such an intense movie could end with a deus-ex-machina.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Panos Cosmatos's Beyond The Black Rainbow. Surreal. Venereal. Horrifying. Enigmatic. One of the best Canadian films and I've ever seen and one that would give David Cronenberg nightmares. Director Cosmatos, the son of George P. Cosmatos, who directed Tombstone and Cobra with Stallone back in the day, is clearly in love with the hazy, half remembered dreams of growing up watching late 70's and early 80's Sci fi, and was clearly influenced by Kubrick's 2001. Inside a gargantuan, deserted and surreal scientific research center (actually a well disguised Van Dusen Gardens), a mysterious girl with telekinetic abilities (EEva Bourne ) is held prisoner by the laconic, demented Dr. Barry Nyle (Michael Rogers). He observes her and reminisces upon the terrifying, pseudo scientific experiment that resulted in her birth, and his dehumanization and subtle psychosis. This is a film that you don't so much watch as experience, like an impressionistic painting, illustrated in bold, smoke machine saturated strokes of otherworldly genius. It's an ode to trippy, disturbing Sci fi horror films of yesteryear, and is an all out tantalizingly enjoyable midnite style movie. The dreamy synthetic score by Jeremy Schmidt is a gauzy wonder of beautiful melodic passages and throbbing, sonic rhythms. While this style of film isn't for everyone, I feel like if you're into this sort of intangible, third eye type mysticism, as well as a healthy dose of atmospheric, 1980's influenced genre madness, then you'd get a huge kick out of this overlooked gem. PS: All shot in Vancouver, with all local actors lending their amazing talent to the roles.
As you could already tell from all the other positive reviews, the
movie is a visual masterpiece showcasing a unique style of
cinematography. The combination of expressive visual and sound effects
set the mood of the scenes very well.
BUT, the movie failed to effectively tell the story overall. The pacing and way of the storytelling in the movie seem very inconsistent , the first 70% of the movie was very slow(some parts overly slow yet ineffective). The slow/long scenes adding small hints to build the story were ineffective, leaving most of the actual story to the imagination of the audience. (I don't mind this way of story telling with information left out but this movie just left out too much and it felt like you are watching a summary of an actual movie)Then, the 30% leading up to the end was going at the speed of light, which also led up to a very unsatisfying ending in my opinion. ( would be great if the movie was going at 50mph throughout instead of 5mph and then 100mph)
Overall, I did enjoy the movie since I love visual arts and the art of cinematography. The techniques and unique direction of the movie is refreshing, with the downside of the actual storytelling. Also, I would not recommend this movie to anyone since I think the people who would be into this type of movie would probably find it themselves and the ones that won't would be bored to death by this movie.
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