A psychological trip into madness.
Simon Horrocks‘ Third Contact is the terribly unflattering, overly monochrome psychological thriller—sans the “thrill” bit–purposely set in a “proposed” world teeming with mystery and suspense. Patients flock to a hack therapist who offers an opportunity to escape “this world” with the aid of highly suspect pharmaceuticals. Between the unenthusiastic, hopelessly bland characters, unstable camera, uncomfortable angles–let’s just say by the end of it–you may have, through some form of photosynthesis, acquire pseudo-symptoms from just watching the film. Case in point:
Dr. David Wright (Tim Scott-Walker) is a psychotherapist conducting his own investigation into the murders of two of his patients. Dr. Wright isn’t much better off than his patients–he is dealing with the loss of his lover–through the liberal use of prescription drugs and alcohol. Rene Maurer’s (Jesse Rutherford) sister, Erika (Jannica Olin), shows up in town to sort through his worldly possessions. She spies a few novel items and a peculiar list of four memories. While searching for answers, Dr. Wright and Erika delve into a downward spiral of psycho-madness and resolving memories.
Luckily, the better half of the film was the last half of the film. The films overall concept became stronger as the rest of the story unfolded. There were brief displays of nudity–a little comedy where the scenes appeared suspenseful. The dramatic parts of the film were disorienting–Dr. Wright ran in a scene, and the cinematography was dissimilar and unstable. The overall production quality of the film suffered due to this and the instability of visuals may have been the aim of the film, perhaps to facilitate the erratic pharmacologically induced story-line. The second and third acts of the film were undoubtedly the better parts of the story.
I have to give props to a few of the acting performances in the film. The secondary characters helped to make this film much more entertaining than the two main characters, Dr. Wright and Erika. Rene (Rutherford) proved to be a fascinating character and carried his scenes well with passion and a tinge of sarcasm in his tone. He had a certain air of curiosity with his character that the film’s lead protagonists lacked in nearly every scene with him in it. Virginia Popova‘s role as the “Enigmatic Woman” is another compelling character in Third Contact. Her multi-layered persona, while cold and distant, had a comforting ability to lift the more somber moments of the film with her enigmatic smile.
Third Contact is one laborious trip to get through–surprisingly results to a good conclusion.
Images, trailer and synopsis courtesy of Simon Horrocks. All rights reserved.