Three quarters a film school sophomore’s final project on depression/identity confusion plus one quarter a deeply underbaked “what is reality?” scifi short results in two hours that start dull before reaching Just End Already, Why Won’t You End?! by the time credits roll.
We start with a somber woman, Naomi (Naomi Prentice), and her concerned fiance, Lucas (Nelson Ritthaler). Naomi doesn’t remember who she is nor can she remember Lucas or any other memories. Lucas wants to help Naomi, but doesn’t know what to do. Lucas sees a therapist, Dr. Hill (Ted Gianopulos), and shares interactions with Naomi about what to do. They both suspect reality is a lie; maybe they need to go deeper. Is she going nuts? Is he going nuts? Why is there an “off-limits” room in their home? What is reality? How true is a memory? Who/what/why/where/when–huh?
If that sounded at all interesting, well then I apologize because it certainly isn’t. The first hour and a half hits the same notes & beats ad nauseam in quite the endurance test of uninteresting people meandering around a bunch of drab locations performing daily tasks as ponderous, ridiculously overdone narration from a depressed 20 year old’s Journal of Sads drones on about life. Nothing remotely frightening, tense, fascinating, or otherwise memorable occurs but there are plenty of slow, repetitive conversations of Lucas being concerned and Naomi not knowing what to say. Part of that is surely the filmmakers’ design given what eventually occurs and many scifi movies have that Matrix-esque first portion where we meet our miserable lead living an unfulfilling life of hive-mind monotony only to discover a deeper existence than previously thought, cue main narrative. Parallax, however, lingers in that “miserable lead living an unfulfilling life of hive-minded monotony” stage for the first 80 minutes of a 110 minute movie before pivoting to “deeper existence” far too late in the game.
Our leads, Naomi and Lucas, mope their way from scene to scene and don’t bring much dimension to things even with music by Aaron Gilhuis doing what it can to add mood. The actors really aren’t tasked with more than be bummed and/or confused as they half-heartedly ask or answer a question while staring off forlornly. A lot. Once the scifi element finally makes an appearance things do improve, if only because things are actually (kind of) happening. Unfortunately it’s all fairly nondescript science fiction mumbo jumbo about “the mainframe,” going in and out of different realities, how there’s “too much invested” to stop now, they must “go deeper,” and the like before a boilerplate “what does it all mean?!” wrapup to send us on our way.
I know I already mentioned the lame narration, but really–it’s like a bunch of “deep” thoughts & faux-philosophical musings from a sad sophomore on reality, memory, identity, etc that add nothing but a steady stream of eye-rolls. I suspect some of the voiceover was meant to inspire a kind of mysterious curiosity, but watching bland people go about doing nothing noteworthy doesn’t pique interest just because someone’s talking about sadness over it. Parallax it isn’t even one of those movies with the pointless narration confined to the beginning and end, it pops up way more than that throughout. Boo! Hiss!
Overall I’d say it’s not worth the time unless a boredom nap is the goal. Having said that, is this real life? What is art? Who am I? What’s my motivation? Why am I doing or saying anything I’m saying or doing? If those questions dominate your thoughts and seeing them addressed with the depth of tortured college sophomore sounds like a good time then run, don’t walk, to your nearest wherever-people-rent-movies-nowadays–while supplies last!
3 out of 10 Sad Sophomores
|Runtime:||1 Hr. 53 Mins.|