Ostensibly, the film’s plot — wait, perhaps I should put that word in quotation marks, and then quotation marks around that set of quotation marks just to be safe. Yeah, I’ll do that. Let’s start over.
Ostensibly, the film’s ““plot”” centers on Elena (Eva Allan, TV’s Caprica), a young woman trying to escape the labyrinthian Arboria Institute. That’s a place where, it was announced in 1983, a scientific breakthrough of bliss had occurred. Of course, if that were the case, Elena wouldn’t be trying to get the holy heck out of there, and the institute’s shrink-like authority figure (Michael Rogers, the online Mortal Kombat: Legacy series) wouldn’t be so damn creepy.
This is not a movie that’s drowning in dialogue; it’s nearly the polar opposite of a talkie. When they do speak, everyone does so roughly three times as slow as normal. That’s all part of the intentional, methodically pace established by writer/director Panos Cosmatos (son of George P. Cosmatos, director of Cobra, Tombstone and Rambo: First Blood, Part II), so soak it in. Those who find the likes of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Solaris (either version) engrossing rather than boring are this cult item in the waiting’s ideal target.
As important as what you see is what you hear; Beyond the Black Rainbow sounds and plays like a long-form Boards of Canada video, but the enchanting, haunting ambient waves come courtesy of Sinoia Caves. That music makes a symbiotic match with the look — so crisp and sharp and imaginative, I cannot believe this is only Cosmatos’ first film. He’s already a master visualist; Papa would be damn proud.