Beyond the Black Rainbow
Strong drug themes, sexual references and
violence: this is my kind of fillum!
Beyond the Black Rainbow is a madcap
slice of experimental cinema from first-time director Panos Cosmatos,
and the end result of a childhood spent perusing the horror section of
the local video store in wide-eyed wonder. Clearly a student of
Kubrick, Cosmatos combines liberal lashings of 2001: A Space Odyssey
and A Clockwork Orange, with plenty of stylistic homages to
sci-fi stalwarts like THX-1138 thrown in for good measure.
Thereís a touch of Gasper NoŽ in there, definitely some David Lynch, and
very possibly some Matthew Barney. One of the triumphs of the film, in
fact, is how in spite of the cavalcade of cinematic references the end
result somehow feels at once unique and eerily familiar.
The storyline exists more to propel the
visuals than the other way around: the year is 1983, and a young girl
with telekinetic powers is trapped deep within a labyrinthine research
facility known as the Arboria Institute. The Instituteís demented head
scientist Dr Barry Nyle is fond of probing the mind of his pet-like
captive, but would never dream of willingly parting with his beautiful
prize. So she decides to escape, before the doc can subject her to any
additional testing or bore her silly with another of his cardigan-clad
rap sessions. And thatís when things get weird...
Actually, things get weird long before that
point. Cosmatosí debut is a cornucopia of hallucinatory imagery, and
plays like a cross between a fever dream and an acid trip. Michael
Rogers hams it up superbly as the creepy Dr Nyle, and stunning newcomer
Eva Allan also shines (insofar as her drugged stupor will allow) in one
of her largest roles to date. Fans of druggy, hypnotic, Burroughs-esque
material will find much to enjoy in Beyond the Black Rainbow -
itís a demanding film, certainly, but provided youíre willing to immerse
yourself in it itís also one heck of a trip.