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Simon Read [Celluloid 02.16.09] movie review scifi

Year: 2008
Release date: Unknown
Directors: Huw Bowen
Writers: Huw Bowen
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: projectcyclops
Rating: 6 out of 10

Schrödinger's Girl is a fairly low-budget British sci-fi film concerning a young female scientist called Rebecca, fired from her job at a university and working in contemporary London with her faithful assistant Matt and flirty equipment connection Dave, in an attempt to prove the existence of parallel worlds. Meanwhile in one of said other worlds there's her double, Sarah, using the far more legitimate and futuristic bio-computers that her advanced parallel world, The United Nations sector of Western Europe, has to offer. To further complicate things Anastasia, another version of Rebecca, is trying the same thing in the Republic of Great Britain, a savage parallel world run under a brutal communist regime, complete with statues of Joseph Stalin and scary propaganda. Anastasia uses pretty low-tech methods that involve unsettling human experiments and lots of gore.

Seemingly at the exact same time their respective parallel experiments fail, in some cases with fatal consequences which throw things off kilter for some of the girls. Undeterred, Rebecca hits on Dave for some more of their experimental serum and promptly downs the lot, which sends her jumping through walls and eventually realities, where she has various run-ins with her other selves and their very different other worlds. Plot description ends here as I don't want to give away any spoilers, so lets get onto the review proper.

It's been a tough gig reviewing this film; on the one hand it's an incredibly entertaining and fun watch with some stunning effects, wildly inventive ideas and a terrific sense of 'what ever next?' running through it. On the other hand it's quite a frustrating film, giving in to a few dumb cliches and unable to quite transcend it's B-Movie origins. One big problem I had was with the limitation of the lead actress. Don't get me wrong, Abigail Tarttelin is clearly talented and throws herself into each complicated role; one minute she's a feisty scientist trying to right wrongs, next she's a mousey, moral but brilliant futuristic scientist and then she'll be portraying a down right evil uber-frau who chugs vodka and happily guns down anyone who crosses her path. Tell me that wouldn't be a challenge for Cate Blanchett? Abigail is at her best when she's playing Rebecca and Sarah but as soon as Evil Anastasia steps in I had to suspend a sack load of disbelief as she simply can't pull off portraying the Commie Badass, although she really does go for it with lines like, "No damn capitalist bitch is going to invade my universe, even if she does look like me!". Central performance aside the supporting cast are good but not great (each actor plays their alternative character in each different world which gets a little confusing) and as I marveled at the SFX and enjoyed the genuinely witty dialogue I began to see that this is a film directed by someone who's specialty is creating crisp computer graphics that would give the rebooted Dr. Who a run for it's money, rather than say, directing actors carefully and with real control. Saying that, this is Bowen's first film and given the promise shown here I'd be very interested in seeing what he has to offer in the future, especially if he's granted a sizable budget and more experienced actors.

As I've said, and with my gripes aside, the special effects are amazing! For a low budget, British, science fiction (just repeat that: Low budget. British. Science fiction) film I was really impressed. At one point we are literally faced with a scene right out of When Worlds Collide and I couldn't tear my eyes off the screen. Bowen (who's also credited as lead effects creator) uses a kind of other worldly, pop-art type CGI where things don't quite look real but do look so unusual that it's compelling. The establishing shot of of each 'world' is filmed from the same angle and yet each one is unique and really well rendered, although the shot itself slightly overused.

Another great aspect of Schrödinger's Girl is the way in which the three worlds are presented and explored, when we're in 'our world' London it's pretty crisp and normal, when we arrive in The Republic of Great Britain it's shot in grimy sepia and smoky black and white, conversely the futuristic London is practically air-brushed it looks so lush and Utopian.

I can't finish this without mentioning the involvement of the parallel-universe-police. Well, they don't really have a name, but as soon as Rebecca really starts to meddle with reality two hoods are drafted by a kind of universal switchboard to track her down and correct things. Mr. Hand and Mr. Slip (an American heavy and a British geek, both black suited and covering the action with a wry cynicism) have some great chemistry and funny lines, "How messy do you want this to be?" grunts Hand, "I prefer clean, Mr. Hand!" retorts Slip. There's some great comic relief here.

Schrödinger's Girl is worth a look simply because it's a lot of fun and it looks great. If you don't mind the odd hammy performance or a silly cliche now and then, you might really dig it, especially if you're sci-fi fan looking for something different.

Special prizes for anyone who spots the following references: Red Dwarf, Metropolis and The Simpsons (seriously).

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Cyberhal (11 years ago) Reply

i really want to see this!


agentorange (11 years ago) Reply

"Mr. Hand and Mr. Slip" -- reminds me of Dark City.

Also the story reminds me of Charlie Jade. Sort of an underrated parallel universe show.

The film sounds sweet.

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