Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Observance (2015)

“Time for Some of the Freaky Stuff”

         Receiving its UK premiere at last year’s London Film Festival, Joseph Sims-Dennett’s disturbing, challenging dissertation on madness, loss and the nature of identity gets a UK DVD release courtesy of Soda Pictures.

         Parker (Lindsay Farris) is in a bad way. Separated from his wife and still haunted by disturbing, frequently monstrous images after the death of his young son, he takes a job as a private investigator, hired to observe the comings and goings of a young blonde woman.

He is set up by his employer in a flat across the street, communicating with them only by telephone, and using a variety of surveillance devices (cameras, microphones) to record her every movement. As one day follows another, Parker becomes suspicious that something very strange is going on. Meanwhile his nightmarish visions are worsening, the room in which he is holed up seems to be taking on the same state of disrepair as his increasingly fragmenting sanity, and ‘something’ may be leaving ‘offerings’ of dead animals - but what?

         There are no easy answers in this one, and whether or not OBSERVANCE will be for you will depend on if that's your thing. Think of a very low-budget version of Denis Villeneuve’s ENEMY (2013) with the dream-cum-nightmare enigmatic atmosphere of  Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s EVOLUTION (2015). If you liked those then you’ll want to give OBSERVANCE a viewing. I can honestly say I didn’t really know what was going on. The film is part REAR WINDOW in reverse - a kind of extreme psychological horror version of Hitchcock’s film, while asking all kinds of questions about who we are, who is watching whom, and whether or not it is possible for some people to ever recover from the kind of devastating grief that Parker has suffered.

Soda Pictures’ DVD comes with a trailer and a tiny featurette that’s worth a look as it gives you some more insight into the movie and the director’s intentions. Don’t expect anything to be explained, though, because the main aim is quite obviously for you to have to do that yourself. 

Joseph Sims-Dennett's enigmatic and weird OBSERVANCE comes out on DVD from Soda Pictures on Monday 10th October 2016

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