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Showing 1-10 of 123 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 221 reviews
on November 17, 2016
This is a very weird and trippy movie which, much like Space Odyssey, has you asking more questions than what was answered. If you're looking for a movie similar to Space Odyssey or any weird scifi movie like it, then you may find this interesting. If you came seeking out a really intriguing story with stunning visuals, well I'm afraid you'll only get one of those. The story is virtually non-existent, some ideas are presented, but generally nothing too broad and open like most movies tend to be.

However, what it lacks in the open picture book story the 1 star raters are used to, it makes up for in interesting cinematography and encapsulating a very trippy drug induced nightmare. I definitely liked this movie, it reminded me a lot of movies like Under the Skin, The Neon Demon and Space Odyssey. It's "plot" not really the focus of the film, but rather as a tool to ground the film in reality, bridging the gap between reality and the outright absurd and disturbing.

A side note if you are a film student, it would only do you good to watch this. A lot of the cuts and transitions made are very interesting and can definitely make for good reference if you're stuck trying to interestingly transition to another scene or add emphasis to it.
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on November 15, 2016
Beyond the Black Rainbow appears to be a love it or hate it type of movie. I'm in the "love it" camp and rate it as one of the best movies I've seen this year. Other reviewers have compared it to Kubrick's films with a Carpenter-like score, which had originally convinced me to try it (I'd come across part of the soundtrack via a Spotify station and had purchased some tracks long before I'd ever found the movie).

If you prefer to have events laid out and explained, and if you like to clearly understand what you've just watched (and especially if you see that as the way movies should be), then BtBR will probably make you miserable -- it's just not your style. At a glance, it's the story of a hippie-era New Age quest for enlightenment gone horribly dark and wrong, self-destructing in the early 80's. However, after more consideration, additional themes arise. BtBR is best watched as an event that you will continue to turn over in your mind for several days afterwards.

BtBR pays homage to movies made in the 70's and early 80's. Not only does it take place in 1983, but it looks like it could have been made in 1983. A high-contrast flashback to 1966 combined with a advertisement presumably from around the same time carries the feel of a significant yet unclear memory.

One thing that helps explain the surreal tone of the movie is noted in a 2012 Filmmaker interview with director Panos Cosmatos. Part of his inspiration came from wandering through a local video store during childhood, seeing the boxes for sci-fi/horror movies, and -- since he wasn't allowed to watch R-rated moves -- imagining from the cover art what the movie could be. I did similar things growing up with an active imagination in a conservative home, so the idea that similar actions inspired someone to make a movie fascinated me. Add in the dreamlike Sinoia Caves score, and it becomes clear that BtBR is not your average science fiction movie with a straightforward storyline. I recommend that you don't try to analyze it too much the first time you watch it.

TL;DR -- you're probably going to either love or hate this mind trip, depending on your style and tastes. If you love it, then it will stick with you. If you hate it, then you're better off moving on to something that resonates with you better.
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on June 25, 2017
I tried to like Beyond the Black Rainbow, I really did, and I tried to pay attention, I really did, but without a clear narrative, I started to lose focus a little over an hour through and think, "Is it over yet?"

I always struggle with films like this. It's a brave choice to make a film without a clear narrative, and sometimes it works--based on the strength of the other elements, including characters/acting, effects/visuals/cinematography, and music. It seems to me that it's usually a 50/50 split as to the effectiveness of this sort of film.

It's difficult to latch onto or empathize with any of these characters. Elena is the most sympathetic character by far, but even she doesn't really get interesting until the latter third of the film. Dr. Nyle is creepy, but that's pretty much as deep as his character development ever gets, with the examinations of his personal backstory and personal abnormalities seemingly there only to add more layers of creepiness atop the rest. That said, the acting is excellent, with Michael Rogers' Barry Nyle being the standout. Eva Allen as Elena isn't, unfortunately, given much to do until the last half hour or so, but what we see from her is compelling. Other characters are practically furniture in terms of their screen time and impact on the plot, though Scott Hylands' Mercutio Arboria immediately hooked me within the opening minutes.

Let's get this second part out of the way quickly: The film is gorgeous. There's a reason other reviewers have likened this to 2001: A Space Odyssey--like Stanley Kubrick, Panos Cosmatos has a clear understanding of how to make compelling, surreal, beautiful visuals. Kubrick's surreality is more specific in terms of its purpose, though, than that of Cosmatos, which, much like the layers of creepiness that are a thin attempt at fleshing out Nyle, seem like a thin attempt to make the film more "cerebral." Again, sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't. The visuals and effects here are cool and the cinematography is impressive, but it doesn't tell any clearer a story than the narrative.

As for the music, well...this is a rocking soundtrack. Seriously, it's the only thing that kept me watching the last half hour instead of turning it off. Props to Jeremy Schmidt for the John Carpenter-Tangerine Dream-György Ligeti-soaked score, which I will be purchasing and adding to my collection.

It's a shame, then, that despite the other elements all being so impressive, that the film is not any more cohesive. This falls squarely on the shoulders of its poor narrative focus. It would have been better as a short film, perhaps under an hour, to create a more streamlined product. I have no problem with "deep" movies, but there comes a point when "deep" becomes "inscrutable", when the plot and the point are buried so "deep" that it's almost impossible to understand.

It's flawed, but worth at least a partial watch, and I'll definitely be looking forward to Panos Cosmatos' upcoming works.

Overall, it's a three out of five. Rent the movie. Buy the score.
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on March 25, 2017
Unless you're planning on taking psychedelics and listening to a Pink Floyd album while the movie plays in the background, you'll need to turn on the subtitles to understand the mumbled dialogue. You're also going to need a lot of patience, even if you're a fan of slow burn or nonlinear movies.
The imagery is stunning and there's at least a few really creepy visuals. A few funny kill scenes lighten the mood.
The music is electronic 80's synth stuff that's all over horror movies and series as of late.
I'm either missing a deep meaning or purposeless bliss because I have no idea what I just watched.
It gets a 3/5 for originality and what great works it may inspire.
It's memorable and could be watched at least one more time to see if things start coming together.
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on October 14, 2015
There are plenty of reviews praising the visuals in this film. There were some interesting ideas in that direction but over all nothing particularly amazing. The acting wasn't bad, the male lead comes across creepy as hell from the very start. The story is a late starter slasher...that's right, it takes the movie till act three to actually get there but its a slasher. Nothing spectacular in that department either. Quite honestly Act 1 and 2 are incredibly slow and really serve no point. They could probably be collapsed into a single act and work better. The end is, if you read other reviews, very open to interpretation. I'll just tell you its abrupt and rounds off the over all feel of the film with another moment of meh. If you are REALLY into the visual feel of a film more than the story/acting/etc you might give it a try, otherwise browse on, its not gonna satisfy.
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on March 29, 2017
There are movies that are just not for the average movie viewer. If you're the type who needs to see non-stop action or a story that's just laid out for you with know brain power needed, then this is not for you. Not saying this film has some deep plot or meaning it just requires more attention and people who love to get lost in the imagery and music that films like this have to offer. This film looks just like something you'd have seen at 3am on a Saturday on a sci-fi cable channel which isn't a bad thing considering it really has a nostalgic feel and it's score is addictive and hypnotic giving a worth of watching the film just to hear what brilliant synth arrangement will come next.
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on October 12, 2015
Sometimes I just kind of throw things in my cue without much thought. I knew nothing about this at all, but I guess it said Beyond... something... and had an alien looking guy, and that must have been good enough for me at the time. I don't know how long it's been sitting there idle in my cue, but when I noticed it was leaving prime, I hit play. Still having no idea what I was watching, or when it was made, it started off with a Boards of Canada vibe that got me to stop surfing and watch. (which is a little ironic, as it was shot in Canada) By 8 minutes in, I knew this was something different, and I was locked in. There was so much that was right about this movie. Like others have said, it evokes the mood and style of many classic 70's & 80's films & directors, but distills them perfectly and creates something new. The visuals were fantastic. A perfectly stylized retro future. The score and sound elements could not have been more perfect. From the analogue synths to the disconcerting ambient hums and Lynch like hushed industrial room tones. This movie was an emotional experience that ran the gamut. If this is the first thing Panos Cosmatos comes out of the gate with, I can't wait to see what else he does.
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on February 3, 2013
The best films are those that never tell a story. They don't make it completely obvious who the lead characters are and what will occur to them by the final half-hour of running time. They don't have fat-handed attempts at "subtext" and "morality". Most importantly, they don't ram all this into the head of the viewer with stilted dialogue or narration.

The best films show a story. They go about their business as if the viewer weren't there at all. While they have storylines, and characters working within them, they often don't connect the viewer with them until the first hour of running time has passed. But usually, by that time, the viewer not only knows the characters' place within the context of the film, but often have insight into will occur to them. And sometimes, simply because the viewer isn't so distracted by what they're "supposed" to be seeing or paying attention to, a lot more is gotten out of the film that even the filmmakers intended.

While not necessarily one of the best films, "Beyond the Black Rainbow" definitely falls into the second category. Like Kubrick's "2001" or Lucas' "THX-1138" it presents a very different world -- in this case some possible alternate circa 1983 -- and provides little detail as to its workings. What is apparent are writer/director Panos Cosmatos' wildly atmospheric cinematography, and keyboardist Jeremy Schmidt's throbbing synth score. It's an intoxicating combination, and it sets the stage for a film that, while very deliberately paced (read: slow), goes about its business eventually.

That business involves the fictional Arboria Institute where Elena, a young girl who posses strange mental powers, is held against her will by Dr. Barry Nyle, who seemingly holds her powers at bay with a mysterious pyramidal machine and sedation. The patient viewer learns that this immediate situation is only the tip of the (black) iceberg, and drifts off into the murky depths of Cosmatos' inky surreal dream.

It's important to state that this is not a film for everyone -- certainly not for those who films thoroughly versed in the films of Michael Bay or Jerry Bruckheimer. If you're a fan of Davids Cronenberg and Lynch, or Gaspar Noé -- you'll have fun with this one.
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on December 28, 2014
...what is even going on at this "Arboria Institute"?! Perhaps the owners are contributing to an American PAC, that is the only possible reason I can think of for the complete lack of oversight of this research facility. This Dr. Nyle does anything he wants, to anybody he wants - and I do mean anything.

Having heard a great deal about this film, I decided I had to see it at last. Although it is far from the worst film I have ever seen, the main thing making it a difficult view is the glacial pace at which the film progresses. The events are interesting enough; they just proceed veeeerrryyy slowllllyyyyy. There were times when I was tensed in my chair, holding myself back from shouting at the screen. And then our main protagonist kept on ghosting through the scene in slow-motion, often followed by her visual "double," as if her ka were visible. You'll know what I mean when you see it. Run! But she never does. Perhaps she does not really need to.

There are many images here that stay with you. Unfortunately some of them are obscured in a number of ways, such as one of the most important sequences being shot in an almost blinding white overexposure, so that you almost have to guess what is going on. This involves a vat of black goo that ends up being far more dangerous - and interesting - than the black goo shown in "Prometheus." It certainly does a number on Dr Nyle. And it changed our heroine Elena as well; but unlike Dr Nyle she had no choice, since she was a helpless infant at the time.

Who are these people in the red "2001: A Space Odyssey" space suits? What do they do? Who is that mutated guy in the straitjacket Elena passes in the crawlway? Ugh?!!! What is this glowing white pyramid, complete with its own weather system? So many questions with no answers, and unanswered questions can make a film interesting. Its all just so very slow. With this one, patience is definitely a virtue.

There is something very Kubrick about this film. You already know if strange films interest you. If they do, this is certainly a must-see. I am going to have to see it again, because I know there are things I missed during my first viewing of this tale of Science Gone Horribly Wrong. This has the hallmarks of a future cult classic.
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on December 27, 2016
A modern cinematic masterpiece. While plot and dialogue seem to be the technique du jour of contemporary movie making, it is refreshing to find a film that makes the aural and visual storytelling the focus.

If you need things to be explained to you with lots of exposition and tied up in a beautiful bow at the end, BTBR is not a film for you.

But if you sit quietly and let the film do what it is built to do, you will have an intense and extremely stimulating experience.

A true modern underrated masterpiece preserved on a well authored Blu-Ray.

My only complaint; I wish there were more extra features. I'd love to hear a commentary from Panos or Michael.
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