Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

"Serious acting, but it becomes something other, something smaller than its stage."

Toby Jones again.

Perhaps one of our finest actors, parts fall himwards.

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Isolated in his high flat, he has time, reflecting. Away from the world, above and gone to ground. In the lock, tumblers are pushed by key moments.

The truth, we have been told, in cinema, since Rashomon at least, is somewhere in the repetition, between those three sides to every story. Fragmentary, halting, finding somewhere past duplicity and duals, something indulgent in its triplicity and trials. "You don't fit", she says, one of them, and it is in that sliding and coming together or something close to it that there is a tension, a sense of collapse, a moment of pattern in chaos. Pattern imposed from observation without.

She bleeds on the garden tools. Toby Jones is dancing to dubstep. Not since Spider perhaps with a cast at once smaller and larger or Psycho before have apron-strings as puppet-strings been... but even then mirrored and analysed I recally Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate and complexes before that and then. Rupert Jones writes and directs his brother for the first time in over a decade, Rupert whose teeth were cut in Channel 4's Coming Up like many others before.

Toby in a small cast, Anne Reid, Sinead Matthews, not a love triangle, not as clear, but shaped, mirrored, falling. Mike Prestwood Smith composes, a novelty, some hundred and change of sound department credits before and here something else, sound as much a part of this slow gyring, paired with Philipp Blaubach, an almost forensic depiction. Under that lens, turning. That flat up a spiral staircase, so wrapped up within itself and the suspicion of unreliability in narration or observation that the fourth wall winks in and out until it seems almost perpendicular. Prison traded for this prism, chaos reflected, order imposed in reflection. A sense of things grown too big with their own cleverness, form and expectation and gravity. Serious business. Serious acting, but it becomes something other, something smaller than its stage. Not quite one room one staircase one garden, one act one reading one consequence, one might find other lessons won in a wan waking, hungover. "drink sends me off".

The truth, we have been told, in cinema, since Rashomon at least, is somewhere in the repetition. There are good performances here, behind, before, the camera, beyond those small movements of Jones inhabiting a small space after movement from a space even smaller, of smaller spaces, larger conseuqnces, more final movements, a sense of things not just definite but within the finite. Combinations, hims and hers, ums and ers, but never quite gelling. Sliding without contact. Abstract but not so deep.

Isolated in its intent this is not. Never quite thrilling, intermittently chilling, one wonders if this film could have done with more reflection. It has polish.

It doesn't quite work. Things don't fall into place.

Toby Jones, again.

Reviewed on: 07 Feb 2018
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Psychological thriller sees an ex-con trying to adjust to freedom, whose life is challenged by his controlling mother.

Director: Rupert Jones

Writer: Rupert Jones

Starring: Anne Reid, Sinead Matthews, Toby Jones, Manjinder Virk, Karl Johnson, Deborah Findlay, Frederick Schmidt, Cecilia Noble

Year: 2016

Runtime: 100 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2017

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