Parallax or The Duality of the Mind

10 Jul

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Opens July 10, 2020
Limited Release

* Spoiler Alert

There’s more than a simple existential crisis going on in Parallax. This film title is very telling because by definition, the term is about how an object can appear displaced relative to the observer when he or she even moves a few feet. In computer graphic design, it can create an illusion of depth. With this movie, it’s about reality bending in strange ways where Naomi (Naomi Prentice) feels out-of-place relative to the world moving on without her.

This lightly budgeted thriller shows it’s supernatural colours later. The visual composition is also telling, since it’s playing with the viewer’s understanding of what the word, parallax, means.

As an artist, Naomi says her paintings are like portals to other worlds. One touch, and she feels whisked away to that beach. In reality, she could be simply dreaming it…

…or she really is not. We’re never certain as a viewer. The slow start and ambiguity is just as disjointing, but I feel this direction is intentional. When the tale picks up, we learn this artist is getting the needed counselling and treatment for a possible brain disease. Her memories are disjointed because she can’t tell if where she is is real life or if everything she’s experiencing is just fantasy. She’s certainly caught in a landslide, which makes up the plot of this film.

It’s very possible that this film is dealing with a beautiful young woman getting Alzheimer’s very early in life. It’s possible that instead of Lucas (Nelson Ritthaler) being the boyfriend, we’ll have someone else she’s truly in love with instead.

The way writer and director Michael Bachochin throws viewers off is with Naomi’s narration. Part of the tale is seen through her eyes. On the opposite side of the spectrum, we learn about Lucas mysterious job. When he’s in counselling, he simply believes his girlfriend is losing it. We’re watching an episode of The Twilight Zone and don’t know which perspective is right.

The ambiguity makes this film interstellar–much like Chris Nolan’s film. A lot of what she’s going through gets explained, but I have to wonder if the sequences of events she’s experienced resulted from her imagination shutting down or something else? There may be another reason, but saying too much can destroy the wonderful exposition at the film’s end.

The science fiction elements are all theoretical. It’s a product of what quantum physics is currently postulating on, and what we can do to “travel” there. This art house style film will have the intellectuals talking about it until writer and director Bachochin reveals all in this film’s eventual home video release.

4 Stars out of 5

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