Directed by: Panos Cosmatos
This is going to be a hard film to categorize. Not really falling under any one category, it combines sci-fi, drama, thriller and a lot of experimental elements. And you know, for the most part it works. Sometimes I felt the trippy experimental sequences to go on too long, but they were beautiful nonetheless and all in all, this is certainly worthy of a viewing from a very talented visualist newcomer.
I can honestly say that I don't think I fully grasped the entire "meaning" of the very small storyline, but from what I could gather, Elena is trapped in a secluded futuristic facility where she is constantly sedated by a demented doctor by the name of Barry Nyle. Somehow (never fully explained how or why I think) Elena is able to escape and make it out of the facility, only to have the crazed Dr. Nyle after her.
I don't know if it's just me, but a lot of this just didn't make sense and I didn't understand how or why things were happening. But then again, maybe they were never fully explained on purpose? Or maybe I was just too immersed in the visual aspect, having my mind blown by some truly inventive and jaw dropping sequences. It's a very slow picture, and you must possess an immense amount of focus, concentration and most of all, patience to sit through this. But if you can, you will be rewarded with some amazing futuristic space age mod set designs a la A Clockwork Orange, an incredible 80's electronic synthesizer score reminiscent of John Carpenter's output in the 80's and some outstanding trippy experimental sequences. Sure, some of them run a little too long, but they are gorgeously executed and photographed. The story might not do anything for most people, but just for the visuals alone, it's enough for a lot of others, like me. I'm glad I saw it because it's an amazingly constructed little piece of retro sci-fi fanfare, clearly drawing inspiration from a lot of well known classic science fiction films, most notably for me George Lucas' THX 1138. But I'm sure a lot of people might disagree and say it plays out more like this or that. Whatever the inspiration may be, it's a trippy mind-fuck that plays out more of a homage to 70's and early 80's sci-fi than anything. Director Panos Cosmatos, son of the late great George P. Cosmatos (Rambo: First Blood Part 2, Cobra, Leviathan, Tombstone) can certainly say that he gave it his all in this one, his first foray into filmmaking, impressing the hell out of me with this debut much the way director Duncan Jones did with his first feature Moon, another throwback to classic science fiction filmmaking. From a design and technical standpoint, Beyond the Black Rainbow is impressive. Very impressive. The only problem is that's not enough to win a lot of people over. Some, but not a lot. From a story driven standpoint, it can grow tiresome and you need a lot of patience to sit through this. I say take the trip, because it's a fascinating one for sure. Be sure to check out this trailer. If this doesn't pique your interest, I don't know what will.