Beyond The Black Rainbow
Directed by Panos Cosmatos
Interesting visuals, compellingly catatonic performances, and a dark, brooding musical score blend together brilliantly to make Beyond The Black Rainbow one of the most intriguing and hypnotic movies of the year.
Much of this film features lengthy, meandering sequences filled with striking imagery and brooding electronic music. Was there any deep meaning to these scenes and the strange visuals found within? At the risk of sounding completely incompetent, honestly, I have no idea. Perhaps these scenes take place solely in the mind of the characters -- who, for various reasons, find themselves escaping into a reality far more terrifying than their own. Or maybe the director just thought they looked cool and needed a way to fill out the movie's running time. Regardless, this is a compelling movie to look at, in the very least.
There are very few actors in this movie, but the few that are there make the most of the material they're given. In a way, the acting matches the visuals. Every actor delivers their lines in a hesitant, somber tone, giving lingering glances with vacant expression, seemingly devoid of any emotion; in a different movie these actors would be far less effective, but their performances work perfectly here. No, the acting is not great, but everyone involved perform their roles in a way that effectively complements and suits the movie around them. In a way, that's what makes this movie work so well -- nothing feels out of place.
The musical score largely consists of a deep, electronic humming, giving the entire movie a haunting atmosphere which I found deeply unsettling. On the surface, this could hardly be viewed as a straight-up horror movie, but the deeply unsettling nature of this film makes it far more effective than most horror movies I've seen. What it lacks in story and character development, it more than makes up for in atmospheric tension. The music is a key component of this and, as a result, I found myself uneasy throughout the entire film.
This is not a movie for everyone. With the acting, visuals, and music all working to create a single, fluid design, it should come as no surprise that most people will either love, or hate this movie. I can easily see 95% of viewers being turned off by the slow, haunting tone of the film, with the other 5% truly admiring its artistic quality. And, as is the case with most "love it or hate it" movies, I find myself riding somewhere near the middle, both admiring its strengths and resenting its flaws. Though I was never bored at any point during the movie, I felt at times it was moving far too slow for its own good, so it struck me as odd that the film would end on such an abrupt note. Much like this review.