The Movie Waffler New Release Review [VOD] - FINDING OPHELIA | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review [VOD] - FINDING OPHELIA

finding ophelia review
Fantasy and reality blur when an ad exec becomes obsessed with a mysterious woman.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Stephen Rutherford

Starring: Jimmy Levar, Christina Chu

finding ophelia poster

This is a film that starts with four minutes of black and white cloud shots overlaid by the sound of wind chimes.

You have been warned.

Moody, thy name is Finding Ophelia.

The first words heard are quoting ‘A dream within a dream’ by Edgar Allan Poe, and then we see a man walking the city streets accompanied by a soundtrack sounding a lot like the ringtone of your phone.

finding ophelia review

He ends up in a pub where a bartender speaks to him in a strangely modified voice, telling jokes that no one laughs at.

Our man leaves the bar and keeps on walking, passing many strangers writhing about individually on the pavement - one has a bag on their head.

He collapses, and caterpillars dance on his eyebrows - yes you read that correctly; Caterpillars. Dance.

We hear voicemails from someone called Mike calling to congratulate Will (Jimmy Levar), aka the walking man, on the “great work” and “pitches” that he has put forward.

Meanwhile Will is sketching vodka bottles on a pier.

In case we forgot this is a weird-ass movie, the next scene is a woman in a dress, dancing and posing in a lake.

Will meets up with someone who presumably is his girlfriend and she is presented as just a nagging harpy montage.

She breaks up with him via voice message, which is a shame because so far she’s the only real person in this thing.

finding ophelia review

The next day Will notices that there are circles everywhere he goes; he is seemingly haunted by this imagery.

He sees a psychiatrist who prescribes him sleeping pills literally two minutes after meeting him, which is exactly what happens when you see a psychiatrist (and yes, that is sarcasm).

The ‘do you doubt that’ sequence that follows is a clever representation of paranoia and mental health deterioration, but it quickly devolves to the same annoying shtick of obscurity.

The rest of the film involves Will's search for the woman he’s been dreaming of - Ophelia. It alternates between blue tinged ‘Will walks the streets’ footage, grotesque body horror or violent imaginings, and the occasional voicemail from his boss.

When the ending finally arrives it’s actually good, and allows a small insight to what the film could have been had it had any kind of narrative flow or logic within its artistic framework.

The performances are fine for what is expected of the actors with Levar as the lead doing his best with this bizarre material; but the direction and script by Stephen Rutterford are self-indulgent and distancing, and it’s a difficult film to feel anything for.

finding ophelia review

It also features a despicable scene of the protagonist beating the corpse of a chicken while chicken sounds are heard over the soundtrack, so there’s that.

This arthouse effort is like watching an extended music clip from the '90s, only worse because this doesn’t even have a good song to accompany the imagery.

At just an hour and 13 minutes this still felt like an endurance test. There is no character development to speak of, no sense of place, no reality to anchor us; just oddness and tedium. I’m not sure who the audience would be for this movie, but it certainly isn’t me.

Finding Ophelia is on UK VOD and Digital now.

2021 movie reviews