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Flicker (Flimmer)

Film Three Stars
I had little idea of what to expect from Flicker (Flimmer), the blurbs and screenings from the Edinburgh International Film Festival were returning quite the mix of opinion as to how enjoyable the film was and also what it actually delivered for the audience. I was uncertain as I sat down to the screening.

A comedy filled with a multitude of characters, some very different plot lines that ranged from eco-terrorism to romance and to office politics, and some visuals in the marketing which looked very confusing and sometimes just downright odd - the picture of a middle aged man standing in something akin to a full body condom costume holding what looked like a strange shaped dildo was perhaps the oddest, but let me tell you now that this is not what the image is about and the reality is far stranger and much less erotic than you might think.

You can see the confusion already in those opening paragraphs. I wasn't sure what to expect but from the trailer I had seen I did know that it was going to be a multiple threaded comedy that looked like it would deliver, and I was intrigued as to how the comedy would translate to an English speaking audience.

Plot.pngFlimmer.jpgFlicker (Flimmer) tells the story of a number of characters caught up in events that just seem to be spiralling out of their control. The story is based around that of a struggling power company who have experienced a major blackout to the local town and are trying to track the cause of the problem as quickly as possible in order to fix their failing public profile while trying to move forward into the modern communications era and resolve their dropping profits. An ecological group are against the plans of the company and are planning to bring another blackout to the town timed with the next big publicity event by the company.

At the core of this we have a number of characters to follow - a senior employee struggling with a presentation for this product launch as well as his non-existent love life, a man who prefers to make scented candles and dream of love; the CEO fighting to find his own way forward with the company he was left and expected to continue running despite his growing hatred for it and the shadow he works under; the engineer who has experienced a workplace accident and who is approached by the ecological group who blame the radio signals for his poor health; another engineer who is trying to complete his building project as well as disguising the problems he's having with his wife; a cleaner who hates spiders and desperately wants more from her own life, and more.

TheFilm.pngFlicker (Flimmer) is an interesting film which has a rather unique styling to it which makes it look very eighties. This actually has a great effect on the film making it feel even quirkier and providing for some strong comedic moments, even if some of them are geeky laughs from the increasingly poor computers that the senior employee uses in order to try and rebuild his board presentation time and time again. It's not all about geeky laughs though as the bulk of them come from the characters and their situations. Unlike a lot of comedy films it doesn't rely on the one comedic theme to deliver the laughs - i.e. slapstick or sex - with Flimmer the comedy comes from many places and it is as much an ensemble as the character base.

The pace is another initially strange stylistic choice that does end up working out very well in the end. At times it picks up in individual threads and keeps moving between different characters ensuring that the audience are never left wondering on what will be the next step in one of the other character's journeys, and there are a few to keep track of. What I really did appreciate about the script and the film was that you never lost track of them and were engaged with so many, it is quite a feat handling all those story lines and maintaining the audience interest in the film and the wide character base.

These characters are definitely the reason that you stay engaged with the film all the way through, not that I mean there's anything wrong with the story to lose your engagement, just that the characters are so quirky, engaging and so easily capture your affections that you so desperately want to stay with them and see how their story plays out, and above all I speak for the main character Kenneth played so well by Jacob Nordenson.

His character provides for some hugely humorous scenes from the constant struggles with technology and the ever smaller growing computers to the classic Ted Danson haircut and his very strange blind date. He is a very funny straight man and reminded me a lot of Ernie Wise. It isn't just this character who is funny though and the film has a number of different styles of humour to it from slapstick and situational comedy through to the observational or totally surreal often coming through the smallest of moments or the larger reveal of the unfolding plot. I have a smile on my face as I reel through such moments in my head but I fear if I start recounting some of them I may spoil their reveal on screen so I'll hold back and you can just take my word for it - there is a fair amount of humour though and it will have you laughing out loud, and I'm not talking the American standard of comedy either.

It isn't all comedy though and this is where the depth and richness of the story comes through. It does contain larger issues that the audience can relate to and that you will find brings you even closer to the characters and their stories making you feel much more for them. Two of the easiest to relate to are that of the couple facing their dreams of family being shattered to the man struggling at work with the growing pressures and demands being placed upon him. It's perhaps the former story that hits the hardest emotionally but within each of the character threads there is somthing to relate to and something worthwhile to be said. These are also issues that easily manage to move beyond the country and the time the film is set in.

A few times in the latter part of the film I did feel my attention wondering but it did manage to pick up and pull me back in quite quickly, I'm not sure if that was because the film wasn't pushing forward quickly enough at times or if the film just felt a little too long, there did feel as though there was a dip in the development of the threads which seemed to lack a sense of direction, but as I say it did pick up again and manage to get back on course. Perhaps it was just the difficulties of dealing with so many threads and characters in one film, and despite this dip I still say that overall it was superbly written and visualised.

The threads do come to satisfying conclusions even if they aren't all as you might have hoped, the main ones deliver their stories well and provide for humour right up to the closing moments.

Overall.pngI was surprised at just how funny Flicker (Flimmer) was and how well the story managed to handle the multiple character threads without losing the attention of the audience. None of them felt superfluous to the story and they all had something to offer whether it be straight humour or something more dramatic and emotional, and there are moments of both which you may find surprising in such a comedy ensemble.

The story itself is cleverly conceived and written, the power company, the plans for expansion, the involvement of the main characters around that central thread, it all adds to the strength of the film and the diverse comedy is built around and into it rather than feeling as though they are engineered into the story.

With strong comedic performances, a well written and conceived script, some great stylistic choices in the design and direction, and editing this seemingly unmanageable multi-threaded comedy really does work well and entertains and engages unlike many films you may have seen in a similar vein.

More on Edinburgh International Film Festival 2012 on Filmstalker
More on other Festivals on Filmstalker
Edinburgh International Film Festival Official Site
UK IMDB Film Details




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