"The tension is palpable throughout, as the film plays with your perception, happily distorting and shattering every image in a similar style to the movie’s namesake"
Starring Toby Jones and written and directed by his brother Rupert Jones, Kaleidoscope is a confident psychological thriller than delights in confusing an audience.
Toby Jones plays Carl, a middle-aged bachelor who after searching online dating websites, spends one late night with one his matches, Abby (Sinead Matthews). What happens from then on is a muddle of illusions, as Carl’s mother Aileen (Anne Reid) appears to stir up traumatic memories from his past.
No one needs convinced of Toby Jones’ acting ability at this point, as he’s turned his expert hand to everything from gentle television dramas to Hollywood blockbusters and been excellent in every single one. Carl is a great character largely because of him, intimidating and pitiable in equal measure.
Rupert Jones meanwhile, has mostly specialised in short films, but Kaleidoscope marks him out as a filmmaker to watch. The multiple plot strands are artfully done, and fused effectively with a great soundtrack by veteran sound mixer Mike Prestwood Smith. The tension is palpable throughout, as the film plays with your perception, happily distorting and shattering every image in a similar style to the movie’s namesake.
However, it’s that aspect that can sometimes be alienating, leaving a huge amount of perception up to our own concentration that, let’s face it, isn’t always on the ball. Drop out of the film for 20 seconds and likely it’s lost you; follow every minute plot detail and even then you might feel like there’s more questions than answers. For some audience members, this very aspect will be a treat for those post-cinema discussions, whilst others may find it a frustration.
Kaleidoscope is a strong feature from an impressive team of brothers, with Toby Jones bringing his acting abilities and Rupert Jones showing a strong skill for keeping an audience on edge. Whether its impenetrable nature is a benefit or irritation is up to whoever’s watching.