BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *1/2 (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
I first learned about “Beyond the Black Rainbow” several months ago when I commented on Twitter that there was no more synthetic music soundtracks that were so fun in the 1980s. A friend of mine suggested I see “Beyond the Black Rainbow” for the soundtrack alone. (Note: this was before the release of “Dredd 3D,” which has a very fun and energetic retro soundtrack of this type.)
After such a recommendation, I kept my eyes open for the film, and was excited to see it come out on Blu-ray and DVD. Before I even mention the plot, I will champion the soundtrack. The film itself is a throwback homage to the films of the late-70s and early 80s, in style, pacing, concept and general filmmaking elements. Jeremy Schmidt’s synthetic soundtrack captures the cool creepiness of that era, yet it still feels authentic without falling into a level of camp.
In essence it’s soundtrack is the best thing about the movie. That’s not to say that “Beyond the Black Rainbow” is a bad film at all. In fact, I liked it quite a bit. However, it’s not a very accessible film. More of an art-house experiment that looks gorgeous, “Beyond the Black Rainbow” abandons much of its plot for atmosphere and imagery.
The story follows a young woman who is held captive by a deranged doctor. He is running bizarre tests on her to unlock the secret of hidden abilities she has. Firmly set in the year of 1983, the film taps into the fears and paranoia of the era, only in a much less literal fashion than you’d expect.
Ultimately, it’s a trippy film, feeling more in line spiritually with a film from the 70s than one from the early 80s, but it still works. Think of it as a twisted version of “2001: A Space Odyssey” which takes place in a psychological torture chamber rather than in the whole of the universe.
In the end, “Beyond the Black Rainbow” realistically captures the look and feel of the movies of that era. For someone like me, who is a child of the 70s and 80s, I loved its atmosphere and feel. I still don’t quite understand a damn thing that happened in the movie, but it was an experience nonetheless.
For as innovative and thought-provoking as the film is, the Blu-ray bonus features leave a lot to be desired. There’s the theatrical trailer, which is actually worth watching after seeing the film. The only other special feature is a deleted special effect of a Ballistic Head Dissolve.