Saturday, 30 June 2012

Beyond the Black Rainbow, dir/scr. Panos Cosmatos, st. Michael Rogers, Eva Allan

Somewhere deep in a laboratory bathed in red and orange hues, Dr. Barry Nyle (Rogers) watches over telekinetic patient Elena (Allan). They've both been immersed in some kind of black goo that seems to have elevated them to a higher plane of consciousness, and the now obsessed Dr. Nyle seeks answers of his own. This highly stylised and hallucinatory movie comes from a first-time filmmaker, the aptly named Cosmatos. The deliberately measured pace of long pans, zooms, pull-backs and dissolves root this film in a distinctly retro period of Sci-Fi (indeed it is set in 1983) and Cosmatos has no problem in sticking to his own glacial pace. The woozy, vertiginous mood is augmented by Jeremy Schmidt's analogue-synth score that recalls John Carpenter's early music, or Howard Shore's under Cronenberg. In fact the film owes a large debt to Cronenberg in its fusion of claustrophobic horror with new-age psychological-futurism. Of course it's all as impenetrable as the films it clearly takes inspiration from, and this will either delight viewers as a lovingly-crafted love-letter to Sci-Fi of yore, or confirm for non-believers that it's a genre beloved of artists who think far too much of themselves.