Eye For Film >> Movies >> Eadweard (2015) Film Review
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
If you're going to make a film about the man considered to the be the "godfather of modern cinema" then it had better look good and debut feature director Kyle Rideout and his cinematographer Tony Mirza take this task to heart in their biopic Eadweard. They relate - and embellish - the story of the eccentric, obsessive and magnetic Eadward James Muybridge using tricks which mimic the techniques he pioneered, such as jump-cuts and slow motion, revelling in period detail and using the full depth of shot to excellent effect, often foregrounding him to emphasise his role as creator.
Rideout and his co-writer Josh Epstein are interested as much in his mind as his achievements, studying the anatomy of the darkroom and the nature of his obsession with equal vigour, trying to give us a sense of what drove his desire to capture not just a single image but movement. "I would like to see the in between, the invisible," he says.
Just as Muybridge became scandalously fascinated with photographing his subjects naked, Rideout is also interested in what lies beneath the skin of the photographer (played with an angular energy by Michael Eklund, who is surely going to be picking up a lot more work as a result). Badly hurt in a stage coach accident which sent him prematurely grey, there is also a suggestion that the head injury suffered at the time led to his being unpredictable and temperamental, illustrated chiefly in the film through his relationship with his much younger wife Flora (Sara Canning), of whom he became increasingly possessive. His growing jealousy and suspicion of her friendship with journalist Harry Larkins (Charlie Carrick) acts an emotional driver of the film, running along side his more mechanical experiments with multiple cameras.
While the evocation of Muybridge's work is imaginative and energetic, the love triangle plot works less well, with Flora almost becoming a victim of the perfect period styling elsewhere, so that her thoroughly modern attitude feels awkwardly at odds with it. It's Muybridge's images that linger, a snapshot of what was to come.Reviewed on: 30 May 2016