Kaleidoscope gives us Toby Jones (Marvellous, Don’t Forget The Driver) as Carl, who lives in a flat that looks like it hasn’t been redecorated since the ’70s. In fact, as he wakes up from a drunken stupor, there’s an awful lot that just isn’t making sense (especially, in my eyes, the fact that a typical single-floor flat has an upstairs!)
Has someone broken in? Well, he certainly gets an early surprise…
The film then flashes back to the previous day to fill in some details. Police are in the area because someone’s found body parts, and that’s clearly making him feel rather disoncerted because he’s got a hot date! After meeting Abby (Sinead Matthews) online, they’re going to meet and she comes back to his grotty hovel, but will his date go to plan? This is a film where basically anything can happen, and at the same time, his mother, Aileen (Anne Reid – Years And Years), has left a phone message telling him she’s popping round tomorrow because she’s in the area. Oh, how he’s looking forward to that(!)
In what follows, without giving spoilers, I can only say that he has one hell of a date, and he’s also really at odds with his mother, and all of this will come out in the movie’s telling. Beyond the basics, this is a case of just waiting to see how the film pans out, and I don’t want to give spoilers, so I’ll just add that the title comes about from when Abby finds a kaleidoscope while sneaking a look in Carl’s kitchen after he goes to the bathroom.
Kaleidoscope is one of those films with wall-to-wall weirdness going on. The trailer (below) for this was one of the most bizarre I’ve ever seen, randomly cutting together scenes from the film in a way which had no continuity and made no sense, but I can see that it’s better to do that and give zero spoilers, than to make a typical trailer and show the film from end to end, like many I’ve seen.
Toby Jones is on top form as always, while Anne Reid provides her usual great performance that always seems seamless, and seeing Sinead Matthews just makes me wish (yet again) that Ideal was still on air. There’s a fantastic, hypnotic score, with its massive droning hum and repetitive sounds, plus twists which make certain elements slot right into place once the revelations come – some of which even make Christopher Nolan’s Memento look straight-forward!
Also, Kaleidoscope – written and directed by Toby’s brother, Rupert Jones – was originally shot in 2016, so although it had a theatrical release in November 2017, it’s taken quite some time to see a home release, but I’m glad it has.
Running time: 97 minutes
Release date: September 23rd 2019
Studio: Sparky Pictures
Director: Rupert Jones
Producers: Maggie Monteith, Matthew James Wilkinson
Screenplay: Rupert Jones
Music: Mike Prestwood Smith
Carl: Toby Jones
Aileen: Anne Reid
Abby: Sinead Matthews
Maureen: Deborah Findlay
John: Karl Johnson
Joe: Joseph Kloska
Officer Fry: Tim Newton
Officer Torrington: Manjinder Virk
Monique: Cecilia Noble
Launderette Assistant: Clare Perkins
Wesley: Frederick Schmidt
Plumber: Andy Williams
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.