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New Release Review - Sodium Party

A college student discovers her life isn't all it seems.

Directed by: Michael McCudden
Starring: Slaine Kelly, James Corscadden, Marian Rose




Sodium Party follows Claire, a girl who doesn’t really know what’s happening to herself.  When she was a child, she had an imaginary friend and only saw the things she wanted to see, but as she gets older and makes her way through college, she is distraught when she realizes that her life isn’t what it seems.  If what I just said seems confusing, good luck with this one because at times it is very hard to follow, especially with the flashback and non-linear story telling, which mostly serves to keep the audience on edge until her entire world unravels.  The problem is that there are just too many questions that never get addressed directly, and to ask the viewer to do this much leg work is just too much for such a convoluted and underwhelming ending. 
The ambition of the story is great.  I love when a filmmaker attacks a complex story with the enthusiasm I felt in this film.  Sadly, sometimes the film just doesn’t pan out well, and we are left with a film that disappoints and confuses instead of intrigues and satisfies.  Sodium Party falls into the former.  It starts out fine, but the questions about what is happening to the characters and questions about Claire’s perception start piling up and the filmmakers seem to only want to pile on more.  Instead of slowly explaining what is happening periodically throughout the film, they wait until the audience is way too confused, and ultimately they don’t get everything answered.  And that can be fine; not every film needs to hand everything to the audience.  A little work is fine, and I love films that cause debates about what happened, but here, there is just too much confusion.   
The actors are good, but the script doesn’t help the actors deliver any memorable characters.  With the exception of Claire, you know so little about everyone that their impact on her becomes transparent, and I found myself wondering why she cared about any of them.  If more time was spent with the supporting characters’ development instead of pouring on more mind-numbing confusion, this could have been an exceptional film.  
Ultimately, with the combination of the transitions used throughout and the lack of explanation, this film is only a few talking animals away from being about a really bad trip.  Without going into too many details, I think, at its core, the film is about how people come to terms with their own past.  Trauma sticks with us forever, and if you let things fester underneath the surface, things can, and probably will, spiral out of control, and you will be left scared and alone.  It is really unfortunate that so many questions are left on the table at the end of the film, because if all the loose strings were tied up, this would have been a real standout.
3/10


Andy Comer

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