Review: Beyond the Black Rainbow

In this wonderfully baffling debut film from director Panos Cosmatos, entitled Beyond the Black Rainbow, a young woman with telekinetic powers is held captive by a mad doctor in a Kubrickian new age institute. The time is 1983. Through a series of psychedelic flashbacks, we witness the circumstances which led to the doctor’s mental and emotional breakdown, as well as the young lady’s captivity. To reveal anything more than that would be impossible, but one thing is certain: fans of films such as Altered States and 2001: A Space Odyssey are encouraged to seek it out!

Panos Cosmatos is clearly a filmmaker who is willing to risk alienating most audiences in favor of placing his vision on the screen, precisely in the way that he wants to. Most of the film was financed by Cosmatos himself, and was shot in Vancouver on an old 35mm Panavision from the eighties.

The lighting, mood, score and deliberate pacing are all reminiscent of earlier films from the seventies and eighties. The beautiful synth-score from Sinoia Caves sounds like a dreamy homage to John Carpenter and Tangerine Dream, but somehow exists within its own unique universe. This score, along with the various soundscapes in the film, allow for an all-encompassing aural experience that pulls you further into the dark world that Cosmatos has meticulously created.

It is a frustrating experience that will leave you scratching your head, with a burning desire to see it again and again. In the tradition of Lynch, Kubrick, and Cronenberg, this is a film with many questions and few answers. The latter is left almost entirely up to you, the viewer. This is a film that will gain a cult following and will be talked about for years to come, much like Donnie Darko before it.

It is highly recommended to adventurous viewers.

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