A WRINKLE IN TIME (PG)
With its impassioned, tub-thumping messages of self-belief and individuality, A Wrinkle In Time is certainly not A Waste Of Time for the target audience of peer-pressured teenagers, who are force fed an airbrushed version of “reality” on social media channels.
Fantastical realms crammed with otherworldly flora and fauna, reminiscent of James Cameron’s mega-blockbuster Avatar, provide an eye-popping backdrop to a 13-year-old girl’s painful coming of age during a madcap time-travelling quest to locate her missing father.
The pacing is frenetic, in part to distract from loopy logic, which results in an exhausting 109 minutes of style over meaty, heart-tugging substance. The glittering jewel in the film’s wonky tiara is 14-year-old lead actress Storm Reid. She beautifully captures the awkwardness and aching vulnerability of her heroine, who constantly questions whether she possesses the strength to achieve her otherworldly destiny.
Seeing is deceiving in Steven Soderbergh’s hallucinogenic mind trip for a traumatised data analyst (Claire Foy), who sees the menacing face of a stalker everywhere she turns.
Unsane is shot entirely on a smartphone and generates sparks of claustrophobia from the restricted screen framing and occasional blurring of images as characters race around.
Visuals are intentionally murky, reflecting the gloom that descends upon the stricken heroine as she is separated from people she loves and the security of her home environment. In his capacity as director and editor, Soderbergh loosens his usually firm grasp on the film’s quickening pulse as boundaries between reality and nightmarish imagination blur with violent consequences. Shaky handheld camerawork has a verite, improvised quality akin to a fly-on-the-wall documentary rather than a studio-financed psychological thriller.
Once the script commits itself to revealing whether the terror is only in the central character’s muddled head, tension dissipates.