A feverish feat of studied immersion and unrelenting design, Panos Cosmatos’ “Beyond the Black Rainbow,” set in 1983, is both otherworldly and innerworldly in its hallucination of futurisms past. A seemingly telepathic woman is held captive in a clinic called “Arboria”: the treatments we see are probably not going to help her get any better. It’s all a matter of mood and tone, or taste, and would likely drive many potential admirers out into the open even before the main title appears at ten minutes into the film. The style-savvy Cosmatos at least dazes, if not dazzles, with his SF simulacrum’s aggressive array of close-ups and immersive use of film stocks, filters, anachronistic typefaces and an analog synthesizer score by Jeremy Schmidt of Black Mountain. The berserk compendium of trippy influences may well include “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “THX-1138,” “Demon Seed,” “Altered States,” “The Terminator,” “3 Women,” and pretty much anything Cronenberg, including the head-expanding “Scanners.” The footage of Ronald Reagan may or may not be a Red herring. The enterprise ends, appropriately, on a quotation from “Buckaroo Banzai.” With Eva Allan, Michael Rogers, Scott Hylands, Marilyn Norry, Rondel Reynoldson. 109m. Widescreen. (Ray Pride)
“Beyond The Black Rainbow” opens Friday at the Logan. The trailer is below.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.