Fluorescent Beast Image

Fluorescent Beast

By Bobby LePire | May 24, 2024

What is the cost of being creative? Is it better to chase one’s happiness or settle in and ensure bills and necessities can be paid? Fluorescent Beast, written and directed by Paul Osborne, asks these questions and more. There are tinges of Brazil and Joe Versus The Volcano throughout, both of which pose similar questions about cubicle life. However, the answer this filmmaker lands on may surprise all watching.

Nelson Shell (John T. Woods), who everyone just calls by his last name, is an aspiring writer. Wait, scratch that. He is a writer, as he is actively working on his first novel; it’s just taken him several years to never finish it. He is good at his job at a financial firm but does not find it fulfilling, often daydreaming or falling asleep. Shell’s home life isn’t much better, as his pregnant wife, Beth (Meg Cionni), never lets him get a second to himself. The emotional journey of Shell, his struggles and aspirations, will surely resonate with you.

One day at work, Shell is sent to an off-site meeting. In a nondescript room in a nondescript warehouse, Mr. Hayden (Patrick Day) informs the confused Shell that he is the only man who can carry off this assignment. However, no one will tell him just what this job entails, serving the man piecemeal information via dictated memos hand-delivered by the very intense Mr. Smearle (Cameron Jebo). At the hotel for his work-related trip, Shell meets Meg (Dawn Brodey), who might be a kindred spirit as she’s a painter. Will this chance meeting deter Shell from completing his assignment on time despite the fact that he doesn’t actually know what he’s supposed to be doing?

Will this chance meeting deter Shell from completing his assignment on time despite the fact that he doesn’t actually know what he’s supposed to be doing?”

Let’s not beat around the bush. Fluorescent Beast is a right proper masterpiece from beginning to end. While it is easy to suss out what Shell is meant to do, the how and why still make this an absorbing journey. The ending is a genuine surprise, with Osborne planting a distinct flag about what stifling people’s creativity means and who is cut out to be creative. The director maintains the crucial sense of tone, as this is, by turns, mysterious, humorous, dramatic, and thrilling. But thanks to a strong screenplay and solid direction, nothing rubs up against each other. Each element bolsters and upholds the others. For example, Meg is showing Shell her work-in-progress painting in her room. The scene starts more dramatic, as he isn’t sure what is going to happen. It turns funny as the art is not complete yet. A hard knock on the hotel room door gets the pulse pounding and heart racing.

Another critical aspect of the film’s success is the cast. Woods shows viewers how constrained and frustrated Shell is. His lackadaisical approach to his wife does not come across as neglect but rather a feeling of being overwhelmed. Cionni’s comedic timing and slightly off, nearly robotic (on purpose) delivery are on point. Brodey’s excitement and sweet demeanor balance out Shell’s emotional imbalance nicely. Jebo, who was great as a Power Ranger, gets to be very menacing and weird and is clearly having fun. Day is terrifying as the boss’s boss’s boss’s boss who owns every company imaginable.

Fluorescent Beast is stunning, fun, whip-smart, and absolutely worth watching as soon as possible. Osborne and company have crafted an original, engaging masterpiece they should all be proud of. The film’s unique storyline and engaging narrative will surely leave you excited and wanting more. So, why are you still reading this? Go watch the film.

For more information, visit the Fluorescent Beast official site.

Fluorescent Beast (2024)

Directed and Written: Paul Osborne

Starring: John T. Woods, Dawn Brodey, Meg Cionni, Patrick Day, Cameron Jebo, etc.

Movie score: 10/10

Fluorescent Beast Image

"…stunning, fun, whip-smart, and absolutely worth watching..."

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