Cult Cinema: Beyond The Black Rainbow

A fantastical mix of Kubrick, Carpenter and Lynch presents itself in the form of the 2010 film, Beyond the Black Rainbow. 

It's a hypnotic vision of the year 1983 featuring a Carpenter-esque soundtrack and transfixing use of color in a movie that is visually appealing but often times confused in its artistic presentation. Going in to this film with any expectation is absolutely useless considering Beyond the Black Rainbow is one of the most unique but daunting films ever made. It's slow pace lends itself to the trance inducing soundtrack while the story unfolds throughout a strange future of mind control and ultra-colorful Sentionauts. This film is art, not just a simple attempt at standard genre fare.

As a whole, it's an astounding first film for director Panos Cosmatos. His mindful control of color and apparent taste for retro synth soundtracks makes Beyond the Black Rainbow and enjoyable piece for any lover of 80's sci-fi or horror. There are tonal qualities of his apparent influences all over this movie. He blends and manipulates each to their fullest extent while still maintaining his own morally ambiguous vision of the future.

Many would dismiss this movie as self absorbed, storyless attempt at  art house cinema. Yet, I think Cosmatos knew exactly what he was going for. He wants his viewers to step outside their standard theatrical experience and put together the pieces of this extremely bizarre puzzle. If anything, no one can say that the soundtrack isn't great and that the visual elements are not beautiful.

Any fan of experimental film would be doing themselves a severe disservice by not giving this a watch. Despite its few flaws and moments of lost focus, Cosmatos did something daring that most modern filmmakers would shy away from. He sheds the foundation of standard story telling as he abandons the notion that every film must be laid out perfectly for its audience. This in itself is a reason to check out Beyond the Black Rainbow.

-Review by Chris George