User Reviews (12)

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  • Greetings again from the darkness. Why is it that estranged mothers always seem to show up when we are frantically trying to clean up all evidence of a murder that took place in our apartment? OK, maybe that's not really a common occurrence, but it's certainly at the heart of this Hitchcockian psychological mind-bender from writer/director Rupert Jones. His brother, the very talented and always interesting Toby Jones, stars as the quiet ex-con attempting to get his life on track.

    A pre-credit opening scene has Carl (Toby Jones) borrowing an uncharacteristically flashy (and quite hideous) shirt from a helpful neighbor for his date which was arranged online. After passing out on the sofa, Carl discovers his date Abby (Sinead Matthews) dead in the bathroom and flashes back to a brief moment of violence. Both Carl and we viewers are disoriented – a sensation that sticks with us until the end credits roll.

    An ominous voicemail leads to a visit from Carl's mother, played by Anne Reid. What follows are Mommy issues galore (on par with PSYCHO in this department). Mother and son have irreconcilable differences over something in the past, but she clearly understands his 'tendencies' better than he does – especially those related to women, alcohol and violence.

    Director Jones has a very interesting visual style, as well as a unique approach to story-telling. He expects commitment and attention from viewers, and rewards those who play along. Despite the claustrophobic feel of Carl's apartment, there are some creative camera angles to go with the imposing nighttime shots of the building's exterior.

    The three main actors are all excellent. Ms. Reid is a screen veteran who has spent most of her career on British projects, and she excels as the slightly creepy, dominant figure in Carl's life. Mr. Jones and Ms. Matthews, as Carl and Abby, have one exchange that really stands out. Abby: "You're a sneaky snake" Carl: "What do you think that makes you?" Abby: "Nasty" It's such a raw moment, and a turning point (along with the voicemail) in their evening. Much of our effort goes into slowly assembling the pieces and clues that are doled out along the way, and it takes a sharp eye to catch some of them … while we are challenged by others to determine if they are dreams, or actual memories. A kaleidoscope changes color, shape and perception as it's twisted – just like this movie. It's a fun ride if you enjoy the twists and turns of determining which parts of a nightmare are reality and which parts are something else.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Like Norman Bates and Buster Bluth before him the main character in this movie, Carl, has severe mommy issues. It all begins when Carl gets a date with a girl over the internet, and when they make it back to his pad, its when everything freaking weird starts, starting with a phone call from Mommy herself, we don't know the backstory, well, Carl does not want to see Mommy... we also find out that Carl does not drink because 'It sends him somewhere' and after his date promises to go looking for him and sneaks some booze into his drink, he promptly 'goes somewhere' and its morning, house is in shambles and oh yea, his date is dead in the upstairs bathroom, then... Mommy shows up. And we quickly see Carl is not exactly...hmmmm... sane. I of course really loved it because simply of the 'what the hell am I watching?' factor. Toby Jones is awesome as Carl, he's always good tho... And its written and directed by his bro Rupert Jones, and its all about Mommy issues, wtf happened in that household??? It reminded me of the movie Spider with Ralph Fiennes in a way...and that movie is spectacular by the way!! So this Mother's Day chill with Mom, and watch this one!! Filmbufftim on FB.
  • Surprised by the number of negative reviews. It's a very good film with fantastic acting.
  • pablovete7 January 2019
    Very good tour de fource of a killer Great acting , good script and images Why just a 5?
  • Warning: Spoilers
    KALEIDOSCOPE is a single location psychological thriller that takes place in a grubby flat occupied by Toby Jones, playing a typically awkward and maladjusted man with mother issues. His life is complicated when a blind date arrives at his home, at which point the narrative becomes fragmentary and the viewer has to try to figure out what's going on. The arrival of the man's mother further complicates things later on. This film was made by Jones' brother Rupert and perhaps made to repeat some of the success of BERBARIAN SOUND STUDIO. I did enjoy the direction and there are some suspenseful moments, but the script is largely mundane here and there's way too little incident to sustain the narrative. What impresses is the calibre of the acting, with Jones giving a layered performance but even so outshone by the excellent Anne Reid as his fragile mother and, in particular, Sinead Matthews as the date with a secret.
  • 5/20/18. Tries so hard to be HItckcockian but falls way too short. Needless to say, the ending was somewhat of a disappointment. Nothing makes too much sense. Psycho has its copycats, but that is all they are.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It was hard for me to get my bearings in this film. I love Toby Jones and he never disappoints even with a script like this. The Big Reveal frankly doesn't. I remember thinking at the beginning when Weird Things Happen: oh no, this is going to be one of those "dream movies". A sign of poor writing in every medium.

    Alas and alack 'twas all confirmed.

    Great acting though and some of the exteriors were brilliant. I could not figure out how he had an upstairs though as each apartment was on a floor above the others.

  • khunkrumark21 August 2019
    Captivating and suspenseful from beginning to end. If they remade Eraserhead, Toby would get the lead. If you liked this, check out 'Dead man's shoes.'
  • PsychoBeard66617 October 2019
    I could see what they were trying to make but it just came off as boring and uninspired.
  • Mysterious and oddly engaging thriller that is more than a thriller. An enigmatic glimpse into the mind of a person with more than their fair share of emotional baggage.

    You will not get the origin story or the full explanation of our main characters background (played with a superb creepy vulnerability by an actor every British person has seen on sitcom bit parts but cannot name). This plays to the movies strengths.

    Ultimately this movie does not really deliver on what it promises though it does get pretty tense as you find yourself truly rooting for this lonely man who probably just a victim of an unlucky upbringing.

    The non-linear narrative keeps things challenging so don't watch when you're looking to turn your brain off. But over all this was a noble effort, rich in originality even if it is inevitably a movie more interested in the type of people who love it than the quantity.

    It's also very atmospheric in its visual style, conveys the strange mix of isolation and agoraphobia the inner city can bring.
  • I love Tobby Jones, her prove himself through his career as an great Actor, and in this movie which have tendency to be an Artwork, he really prove himself as a great character Actor. But, the whole movie with its rythm is very slow and boring, and kind of a mess. Still, it is great to watch if you want to see how good actor can go deep into character. I must say I gave up after a half of it, but I still admire how Tobby Jones illustrates a persona in this one. I was suprised no many Critics gave a shot to this, but obviously did not make much of attention to such audience. I say acting is great from all of the Cast but as a movie it fails to lead u deep in it.
  • Toby Jones plays Carl, an ex-convict who meets a woman online around the same time as his mother visits. The story is told out of episodic order, and includes brief flashbacks to memories of Carl's father and how he came by the titular kaleidoscope. There are some inspired shots, comparing a monolithic tower block and a three-sided staircase to the view through the toy. There are a few short scenes away from Carl's flat. There are almost incidental mentions of Carl's plan to have his own gardening business that add nothing to the plot, maybe even distract from it. There is a shabby ending, which destroys any tension or suspense the story had. Wonderful to look at but as hollow and unfilling as a chocolate egg.