Published on June 26th, 2017 | by Allan Brown0
EIFF 2017: Kaleidoscope Review
Movie Review: Kaleidoscope (2017)
UK Release Date: TBC
Running Time: 100 minutes
Director: Rupert Jones
Writers: Rupert Jones
Cast: Toby Jones, Anne Reid, Sinead Matthews, Cecilia Noble
Carl (Toby Jones) is a gentle soul, kind and considerate. He lives a quiet life in a high rise block on an estate, and other than his friendly neighbour Monique (Cecilia Noble), he exists in relative isolation. Aware of this, and being the proactive man with aspirations that he is, Carl takes the plunge into the world of online dating and sets up a rendezvous with the young and bubbly Abby (Sinead Matthews). However, when the date continues back at Carls, it soon becomes clear not everyone’s intensions are honest. As anxiety and suspicion begin to fill the frame, an unexpected phone call from his estranged mother Aileen (Anne Reid) plunges Carl into a world of panic, as murder and cover up soon engulf his simple life.
At its heart, Kaleidoscope is a haunting portrayal of psychosis from the view point of the sufferer. But it is in the way Rupert Jones has so intelligently blurred the lines of reality by intertwining the condition with the narrative, that resonates so strong and captured with real visual artistry.
Indeed, for most of the first act, we are as much in the dark as Carl as to what happened and why. Like him, we to are only left with the aftermath and subsequent fallout of the night in question. But slowly over the course of the following two acts, Jones drip feeds his audience enough visual and audio clues in the form of metaphor and symbolism to suggest all is not as it seems. This allows us to begin to put some of the pieces of this complex and beguiling puzzle together.
It is clear that past trauma relating to his mother is the trigger of Carl’s condition, and Toby Jones plays it with beautiful subtlety a performance that effortlessly anchors the film in perfect realism. This is key to the film’s success, because although we the viewer can see the lines of reality are ambiguous, to Carl they are not. To Carl it is all very real and immediate; he knows not that he’s simply a pawn, lost in the kaleidoscope of his complex and unsettled mind.
Sinead Matthews gives a fun and vibrate performance as Carls date Abby. And even though there is pain there in her subtext, she lights up the screen up with glistening energy providing the perfect juxtaposition to Carl’s more subdued character. Anne Reid also delivers a notable performance as Carls alienated mother Aileen. Reid plays it just off centre enough to invite another key ingredient to the mix; uncertainty.
With artistic flare aplenty and gripping performances across the board, it’s a shame Kaleidoscope suffers from some pacing issues in the second and third act. A tighter edit may have allowed a more natural flow to the surface narrative and help maintained tension before that note perfect conclusion.
Summary: Kaleidoscope is an intelligent and artistic portrayal of a harrowing mental illness, interwoven with a stunningly executed psychological thriller.