Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Möbius Trip (2022) Film Review
The Möbius Trip
Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson
Properly represented with the umlaut, The Mobius Trip may be one of the few works I've seen that references the mathematician's eponymous topological oddity without defining it. For those unacquainted with it, it's actually quite simple to make. Take a rectangular strip of paper, for convenience significantly longer than it is wide. Bring the two thin ends together as if making a loop for a paper chain, but before fixing one to t'other rotate one of them about the longitudinal axis. That is to say make the side of the end that would otherwise be the top the bottom, and the end of the side that would otherwise be the bottom the top.
When connected - the preferred mechanism is some tape - a property that makes it distinct from an otherwise equivalent cylinder is conjured. The shape, the mobius strip, has one side and one edge. Something following a path along the strip will find itself on an apparent outside, an apparent inside, apparently inverted, but will also always be on the same side of the shape even when it isn't.
Traditionally the something that follows the path along the strip is an ant, but they are going to a family wedding so it's likely there are uncles as well. Simone Smith's film is constrained not just to a journey but to a single car. A 1989 Volvo estate, at time of writing currently without an MOT and for vehicle excise purposes statutorily off-road. That's at time of my writing, Smith's script places different tests of worthiness and administration upon it.
Not least in language. The father might be called Clint but it's an accident of kerning away from at least one thing he's called. The small details might include the tape on the tape-deck and the tape within the tape-deck but the big loud details include a quantity of effing and geoffing that sits somewhere between Tarantino and Scotland. Within that small space, Fiona O'Shaughnessy, Andrew Flanagan, Mirren Mack, and Stephen McMillan. Mother, father, daughter, son. Various previous roles as wielders of knives, be that in horror or history. Both differently apparent here, in a piece that was described at one screening as "from the heart" and a "raw expression of a time and place."
Access to film-making is far from evenly distributed, and it's to be hoped that even awards mention will help Smith secure subsequent funding. At one of its screenings she talked about how schemes like GMAC helped with things that might seem counterintuitively necessary like childcare, but given how many other factors conspire to exclude talent from process parenthood shouldn't be yet another. In awarding a special mention at Glasgow's 2023 Short Film Festival the jury mentioned the film's "strong impact," its "radicalism," "adventurous" and "cinematic" journey "trapped with characters in a never-ending loop."
Other forms of accessibility are a function of technology. Overhead tracking shots of cars in motion can now be achieved with drones for daily rates that beat hourly rates for helicopters. Even in an era of seemingly ubiquitous computer graphics it's far quicker and inherently more realistic to put a camera up high and roll on something rolling than to wrangle pixels along a path. It'd be easy to mention works by David Lynch like Lost Highway, and with backwards speech and uncanny woodland it'd seem foolish not to. Other similarly hallucinatory journeys include things like Mandy.
Properly represented with the umlaut, The Mobius Trip may be one of the few works I've seen that references the mathematician's eponymous topological oddity without defining it. For those unacquainted with it, it shows care and craft in its construction. Take a rectangular vehicle, for convenience significantly longer than it is wide. Bring the two generations together as if making a loop for a wedding, but before fixing one to t'other rotate one of them about a disapproving axis. That is to say make the side of the end that would otherwise be the top the bottom, and the end of the side that would otherwise be the bottom the top. You'll see what I mean. Repeat as necessary.Reviewed on: 27 Mar 2023