LONDON ROCKS 2020 FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW! The hook of the twisty, British thriller Palindrome should be obvious just going by the title alone. But for those who don’t know, a palindrome is a word or phrase that is the same forward as it is backward. A few examples included the terms wow and civic, as well as the names Hannah and Asa. With that knowledge, guessing that Marcus Flemmings’s second feature-length film begins and ends in the same place is easy to do. But, as they say, it is the journey, not the destination, and what a journey this is.
Fred (Jumaane Brown) is in an asylum. Aside from the attending nurse and doctor, he appears to be the only one there. Dr. Gladstone (Daniel Jordan) puts the man through extreme treatments, more like torture, to be honest, which includes almost drowning and severe electric shock therapy. During these intense sessions, Fred awakens in a dark void, deep in his subconscious. It is here that he learns how to relive (I think) his past and try to make amends to the woman he failed.
“…he relives the fallout from an attempted robbery and tries to figure out what Anna wants from him.”
That would be Anna (Sarah Swain), whose name is a palindrome. She calls Fred and tells her that she is going to die at 11:01 PM. While Sarah knows Fred will be unable to prevent the artist’s death, she does ask him to do her one favor – look her up. The reason she needs him to do so is murky to Fred at first. The first half of the movie follows Fred, as he relives the fallout from an attempted robbery and tries to figure Gaout what Anna wants from him. The second is all about Anna as she attempts to reorganize her life and recapture her one true love.
The two stories interconnect on occasion, but aside from a few direct moments, such as the call, the links are more symbolic and represent the parallel motifs tying the two lead characters together. It might seem like it is a bit hard to follow all the threads, especially as the nature of Fred’s Quantum Leaping is left intentionally vague, but Flemmings’s screenplay works on a very profound level. The themes of loneliness, grief, and mental health all get put through a prism of eerie, inexplicable happenings. This means that each emotionally resonant moment works on both a level of intrigue and excitement.
"…playfully toys with what is real, what is not..."