Blu-ray Review: KALEIDOSCOPE

KALEIDOSCOPE is the unsettling debut feature from Rupert Jones and stars Toby Jones, Sinead Matthews and Anne Reid.

Kaleidoscope is a provocative psychological mystery that asks: is it possible to escape our past? This intense, twisty thriller unfolds in the darkest corners of a man’s mind. Recently released from prison, mild-mannered Carl (Toby Jones) quietly attempts to move on with his life. Just as he embarks on his first date in 15 years, Carl’s fresh start is shattered by the sudden reappearance of his domineering mother (Anne Reid), whose presence awakens within him a deep-seated trauma. What unfolds is a brain-warping puzzle as reality and illusion, past and present collide and explode in violence.

The movie follows Carl, a mild-mannered psychopath who ends up losing his grasp on what’s real because something or someone has triggered his memories of a traumatic event. When Carl has his uncomfortable date with Abby (Sinead Matthews) something happens that sets him off and he slowly loses it. This is also what introduces his mother who appears to be a prying and manipulative figure from Carl’s past. He left her behind for a reason and as the movie plays out all of this slowly surfaces. The two have a dark past and their mysterious relationship interferes with Carl’s grasp on rational thinking. In the end, Carl actually discovers that things may not be as dark and gloomy as they appear to be even though it’s obvious the man has some disturbing personal issues.

Kaleidoscope was written and directed by Rupert Jones and for this to be his helming debut I thought he delivered an interesting character study and thought-provoking watch. This is one of those slow burns that features a complicated story and it may take more than one viewing to figure everything out so you can catch on to what’s actually happening. The film stars the director’s brother, Toby Jones, who delivers a powerful performance as this troubled, middle-aged man who obviously has had some issues with his mother in the past. Anne Reid delivers an impressive performance as the annoying mother who plays her son like a puppet. Sinead Matthews’ key character is the one that sets everything off that begins this downward spiral for the main character. Just like Norman Bates and his mother, Carl also has this unsettling bond with his annoying parental figure who shows up at a bad time and then begins to pick at his sanity – to the point of tormenting the poor man. Uncomfortable and troubling things are unveiled about Carl’s quiet little life as it all slowly unfolds and everything is ultimately revealed.

The packaging comes with a slipcover/o-card. The front features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some alternate artwork and movie credits. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for the high-definition disc were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Kaleidoscope plays like a Hitchcokian-style thriller that’s eerie and unsettling as it plays out. This psychological thriller is extremely complicated and even a little confusing at times. So what you do is, if you don’t get it the first time around, just let everything simmer for a while and then watch it again. Rupert Jones has delivered a really good directorial debut that stars his brother Toby Jones and I enjoyed the movie even though it had its flaws. It’s strengths are its complicated story and the impressive performances by the cast and that’s what drives the movie. As intense as this watch is, it’s also sad and depressing because this likable psychopath is also a victim and there’s an innocence about him. Kaleidoscope will be available on Blu-ray on May 1st.

Distributor: Scream Factory and IFC Midnight

Run Time: 99 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish

Special Features: The extras include three featurettes and the theatrical trailer.

  • The Making of Kaleidoscope featurette (01:59)
  • Working in the Studio featurette (02:23)
  • Keeping Up With The Joneses featurette (02:26)
  • Theatrical Trailer (01:42)


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