52nd Chicago International Film Festival Screening #15: “Kaleidoscope” (UK)

“Kaleidoscope” (UK)
Directed by Rupert Jones

Oy, this film.

Part psycho-social character study, part who-dunnit and part very dark comedy…”Kaleidoscope” is all kinds of boring. While it does have some positives to offer, when all is said and done,  “Kaleidoscope” is not successful at any of the above.

Firstly, the script suffers from too many jumps between reality and psychosis, leaving you wondering where the third act begins and even where it ends. Secondly, the action of the film, which might have been its saving grace, moves at a glacial pace with the camera lingering for long stretches at a time on Toby Jones’ face. Interesting as that may be, it does nothing to forward the film. And, finally, you just don’t care about these people…leaving you wondering what the purpose was.

Not that the acting isn’t good. It’s occasionally exceptional. Toby Jones, as you would expect, fully inhabits this man’s delusions(?) and, while he comes off as whiny now and again, it is always in the service of the character. A chamber piece, there are only two other main characters, and both actresses (Sinead Matthews and a stellar Anne Reid) are suitably invested in the goings on. But performances are not enough to pull this herky-jerky film out of the muck.

When discussing this film with some other Film Fest goers, I was instructed that director Rupert Jones (Toby’s brother), in a Q&A, was asked what was it supposed to be. His response, apparently, was that it didn’t matter and that it was up to the viewer to decide that. I’ve heard directors say that before…and, while that might be an interesting experiment, I am always, in these instances, reminded of a line from “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”, delivered deliciously by Steve Martin:

“You know, when you’re telling these little stories? Here’s a good idea – have a POINT. It makes it SO much more interesting for the listener!”

Perfectly sums up my experience of “Kaleidoscope”. Can’t recommend this. However, since it is so well acted, maybe catch it on a streaming service some time..assuming it gets there.

No trailer available.

Written on 11/1/2016

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