Low-graphic news index |
Friday, June 22, 2012 - Page updated at 10:00 p.m.
'Beyond the Black Rainbow': It's a '70s-style trip, inside a clinic
By Jeannette Catsoulis
The New York Times
Everyone is high on something in "Beyond the Black Rainbow," a spaced-out throwback to a time when we fired up the bong, cued up "Tubular Bells" and plugged in the lava lamp. The film's setting is the 1980s, but its vibe is pure '70s — the kind of trippy sci-fi mind bomb that mushroomed in smoky campus theaters after dark and before thickheaded sobriety reminded us that we still had papers to write.
Panos Cosmatos' barking-mad feature pilfers from many playbooks (including those of Stanley Kubrick and Kenneth Anger) without functioning as an homage to one. A barely discernible narrative introduces the creepy interactions of a bewigged, pill-guzzling doctor (Michael Rogers) and his heavily medicated patient (Eva Allan), a lovely young prisoner who does little except stumble around like a near-catatonic rag doll.
Their home is a gloomy, underpopulated clinic outfitted with cavernous air shafts and mysterious doors, where the staff members behave as oddly as the inmates. Close-ups of a needle penetrating gnarled toes and a mutant slathered in what I choose to believe is bittersweet chocolate make as much sense as the scary drawings of angry vulvas hiding in a drawer.
Meanwhile, Norm Li's psychedelic photography accepts only complete surrender. But unless you're among those who still drop acid as a midnight-movie aperitif, your enjoyment of this retro oddity remains far from guaranteed.
Copyright © The Seattle Times Company
Low-graphic news index
Graphic-enabled home page