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LFO: The Movie

Film Three Stars
When I first saw a comparison of LFO: The Movie to Berberian Sound Studio (Filmstalker review) I was a little concerned, after all I didn't take to that film as much as it seems other people did. It was confusing, left too much unsaid and unexplored, and was too vague and artsy to be enjoyable. It had some great ideas but I felt it never executed them well enough, and that's the fear I had for LFO, especially when it began and almost straight away I felt the influence of the previous film.

LFO is made with a smaller budget and while the cinematography may not be as strong it has something much more than Berberian Sound Studio did and that's an accessible story that the audience can follow and get engaged with. At times it's dark and others it's funny. LFO turned out to be a great surprise for the second film of the Glasgow Film Festival this year.

Plot.pngLFO.jpgLFO is a dark comedy/drama/Sci-Fi about a man who realizes that he can hypnotize with sound. He starts experimenting on his neighbours, where the abuse of power takes over and, eventually, severe consequences for mankind are at stake.

TheFilm.pngThe plot above is taken from IMDB and does set the film up well, however I didn't read that plot and neither did I read too much of the festival blurb before selecting LFO to watch. If I'm perfectly honest I picked it from the list of review DVDs that were offered because it was there and available, despite being one of my lower choices on my watch list.

Come the time to watch the film I'd forgotten what I initially read about it and was excited that it was among the first films to watch of the Glasgow Film Festival. So while that doesn't sell the film as to how I came to it and I'm glad events turned out the way they did for I ended up enjoying LFO for a number of reasons.

The first is the idea behind the story. It's an interesting one that immediately captured my imagination and started me thinking. I was intrigued as to what the character was going to do with the new found technology and it was refreshing that he didn't race away some grand plan, instead opting to use it on a much smaller scale, closer to home and before he's really had a chance to consider the implications.

The story certainly doesn't go the way you expect, well not for most of the film anyway. To begin with it has a darker and more ominous tone but come the middle of the film there's a directional change where it becomes a little lighter and somewhat odder. It's here where a lot more humour is injected into the story and also where I felt that the story seemed to stall a little.

While it is fun seeing some of the ways he uses his technology and gets in and out of difficult situations with the neighbours, I did feel as though we were stuck a little too much in the same place. The development of the plot seemed to be much faster to get to this point and to speed away from it, but while we were here we stayed a little too long.

When the pace picks up it does speed away quickly and in the last act the story explodes and delivers much more than you were probably expecting come the middle of the film. I had thought that we weren't going to go much further than the neighbours and their house, how wrong I was.

While the scope leaps from where we've been for almost the entirety of the film it does it very cleverly so that the scale of the production doesn't have to, and I thought it achieved this with a great balance of scope against capability. It conveys how this man's story could escalate and how the state of his mind would ultimately affect his decisions. It's a huge ending that tells us something about who we are and what we're capable of.

Before the story makes this break away it takes a few big steps to show that the lead character is starting to think bigger, and here we get a couple of sequences which demonstrate the evolution of his ideas for his technology. The problem is though they feel cherry picked and dropped in, as though they are an exploration of some examples of what could happen. To this end they feel a little staccato and, for me anyway, stopped the flow of the story. Their effect is that I don't totally feel as though he has evolved, rather that we've dropped in on him so many weeks or months later just doing the same thing. I did enjoy where it eventually took us in those closing scenes but I would have liked it to have been a much smoother and more progressive journey.

Earlier on I felt that there could have been more mystery built around the thread of the wife and it having more of an important place in the film, it seemed such an important part of who the characters was and what his future decisions would be. Saying that though it does provide for some very amusing moments and I did love the addition to the character.

There was a lack of tension through the relationship with the jilted colleague and the various near misses with the neighbours next door, and while these did deliver on many other levels for the film I felt that I was missing out on the tone that the opening of the film had brought. However that hadn't left a void and the story, characters and the humour did a great job of entertaining me.

For the most part there was just the right amount of humour in the film, it never progressed too far into outright comedy to lose sight of what the film and the characters were about. In a few places though I did feel that it was a little too light and missed some opportunities to develop the potential for a darker and more intense story. While Berberian Sound Studio (Filmstalker review) perhaps took itself very seriously, here LFO perhaps treats itself a little too lightly.

Saying all that the story was engaging and had some interesting developments. I felt entertained and enjoyed the lead character's quirks and the layers to his story. The ending provided for some additional food for thought and I did just that, even after the credits rolled I was thinking on the ending and on how I would have dealt with the situation, and as I always say that's a great sign for a film.

Overall.pngLFO is enjoyable and engaging. It has a great idea at its core and provides for some interesting developments on the way. While the scope of the story balloons the team behind it have managed to present it in a way that doesn't hit their production but still takes the audience where they need to be.

It perhaps could have been a little darker and more serious in places with a smoother development through the latter stages of the film but that isn't a huge negative because despite these flaws the overall film will capture your imagination and will have you thinking what you would do with such power.

You'll enjoy the leading character and his strange life, and believe me it does get strange. You'll find moments of fun, of seriousness, and of sadness, there will even be a few moments of thoughtful consideration, and all of that together makes LFO: The Movie a film worth seeing.

More from the Glasgow Film Festival 2014 on Filmstalker
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UK IMDB Film Details




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