Review: ‘Beyond the Black Rainbow’

Ultimately making even less sense than its title, writer-director Panos Cosmatos' "Beyond the Black Rainbow" is set in a quasi-scientific facility that marks the remnants of a once-benign New Age project that, like "Lost's" Dharma Initiative, has gone evil; it also seems to have been designed after many tripped-out viewings of "2001: A Space Odyssey."

Ultimately making even less sense than its title, writer-director Panos Cosmatos’ “Beyond the Black Rainbow” is set in a quasi-scientific facility that marks the remnants of a once-benign New Age project that, like “Lost’s” Dharma Initiative, has gone evil; it also seems to have been designed after many tripped-out viewings of “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Fascinating first impressions soon give way to repetitive, sluggish sequences, suggesting distrib Magnet will struggle to build cultish word of mouth.

Barry (Michael Rogers) is the increasingly unhinged and megalomaniacal director of a “transformational” center (whose ’70s-era promotional video opens the film with remarkable verisimilitude) founded by his father, Mercurio Arboria (Scott Hylands). Only Elena (Eva Allan), who’s blessed/cursed with extrasensory powers as a result of the center’s bizarre therapies, seems to be under Barry’s so-called “care,” but she’s actually his prisoner. Although lenser Norm Li’s mesmerizing widescreen images and Bob Bottieri’s pop-mod designs offer real pleasures, “Rainbow” grinds to a near-halt even as Barry goes thoroughly bonkers.

Beyond the Black Rainbow

Canada

Production

A Magnet Releasing (in U.S.)/Mongrel Media (in Canada) release of a Chromewood Prods. presentation. Produced by Oliver Linsley, Christya Nordstokke. Directed, written by Panos Cosmatos.

Crew

Camera (color, Panavision widescreen), Norm Li; editor, Nicholas Shepard; music, Sinoia Caves; production designer, Bob Bottieri; costume designer, Kathi Moore. Reviewed at AFI Film Festival, Nov. 4, 2011. (Also in Stockholm, Fantasia, Tribeca film festivals.) MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 109 MIN.

With

Michael Rogers, Eva Allen, Scott Hylands.

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