The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Third Contact | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Third Contact

A psychotherapist investigates the mysterious suicides of two of his patients.

Directed by: Simon Horrocks
Starring: Oliver Browne, Cristiana Dell'Anna, Kristina Erdely

Third Contact marks the feature debut of Simon Horrocks. Shot on a minuscule budget of £4000, it certainly doesn't lack in ambition. This, however, is very much an example of reach exceeding grasp.
The film tells the story of Psychotherapist David Wright (Tim Scott-Walker), in a state of existential crisis following the break-up of his relationship and the apparent suicide of one of his patients. A discussion with Karl (Oliver Browne), one of his patients, regarding "quantum suicide", leads him to a dark journey of the soul. Meeting up with Rene, the sister of the suicidal patient, reveals a sinister company offering 'Destinations'. What part have they played in the suicide and will they be targeting another of David's patients?
It is at least a pleasure to see a new British film that does not resort to cockney gangster stereotypes, however this feels like a short film stretched beyond endurance. Shot in moody black and white, and with a nicely used score, it tries hard with its intellectual mind games and woozy dreamlike mood. This is very much a film of dialogue, rather than action, and unfortunately his actors are not capable of doing the heavy lifting needed to make this fly. Tim Scott-Walker is adequate as the lead but it's the other actors that let him down. Karl is a pivotal role that Oliver Browne is really not capable of realizing. These amateurish performances really destroy the atmosphere that director Horrocks is trying hard to maintain. This coupled with second-year student pop psychology dialogue and some scenes of hard drinking, alcoholic, despair that border on parody, scupper an interesting premise.
It's a shame that it's so lugubrious and stodgy at the outset, because it's final 20 minutes show that Horrocks may have some promise. Reminiscent of the psychological games of David Cronenberg's 'Videodrome' and Gela Babluani's '13', Horrocks shows that he can do more than stage endless scenes of portentous dialogue. With a more disciplined script and tighter editing this may have yielded more excitement. Horrocks is a one man band at the moment; writing, directing, editing and composing the score, one can admire his ambition but on this evidence he has spread himself too thin. His shot choices are interesting and he knows how to evoke atmosphere. With better acting and a tighter, less pretentious script, he may develop into an interesting director. File under noble failure.


Jason Abbey