Mike Figgis is a prolific creative figure in British cinema, delving into the experimental areas after conquering Hollywood. His new film, Suspension of Disbelief, is a self-deconstructing movie-within-a-movie challenging the lines between reality and fiction and how these effect emotion. Whether true or not, the audience is still effected.

Suspension-of-Disbelief-FinalSuspension of Disbelief is an erotic psychological thriller.  Flitting between the characters’ so-called real lives and a film that is being shot, we watch as a world renowned screenwriter and literature professor becomes deeply implicated in the murder of a mysterious and beautiful young French woman.

It has a hint of noir thriller as it lacks dialogue and it interweaves a variety of narratives that eventually overlap. German screenwriter (Sebastian Koch) is teaching narrative technique at the London Film School, while his daughter is appearing in an erotic thriller he’s written that appears to refer to aspects of his murky past with his deceased wife. At a party for the daughter he meets a beautiful French girl who disappears and is found drowned. The deceased twin’s sister then arrives, but which twin is which?

For us, the audience, and indeed the characters onscreen it becomes increasingly harder to differentiate between truth, fiction and dreams. Whilst this is part of the experimental aspect it does sometimes contribute to confusion, which is a little frustrating.

A rather ironic piece of dialogue sadly sums up this film nicely: “It’s easy to write an opening sequence…Most films have interesting beginnings…” – Suspension of Disbelief seems promising from the outset but mid-way it loses its inertia.

If I were to sum the film up in a few words it would arty, low budget and faux-noir. I admire Mike Figgis’ experimental edge but he appears to have lost the plot with this cinematic offering- it feels like the kind of art house feature film that may swiftly become something the movie channels stick on in the small hours. It’s self-conscious and over styled perhaps to convey the artificial nature of film and therefore drive home the central theme of reality and fiction, but still, it’s all rather annoying.

The camera work, original score and an amazing mix of digetic and non-digetic sound throughout create an amazing setting and atmosphere for what could have been a twisted and dark thriller. However, the plot lacks structure- perhaps purposely due to the idea of blurring fiction and reality- but instead of making a cinematic statement it becomes a deflated mess of sexy characters and a lot of glances and knowing looks that almost always amount to nothing.

VERDICT: [rating=2]

 

 

 

 

About The Author

Emily Stockham

Emily is from South London and has a degree in English Literature. Emily is a marketing assistant who writes about films and music in her spare time. Horror and grindhouse are her thing - although she will happily watch anything if it means a trip to the cinema.