Uncertainty - Movie Review

By Jonathan W. Wind

Uncertainty begins in an uncertain way. It's July 4th and young lovers Bobbie and Kate are walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. Plainly in love they need to make a crucial decision. So they flip a coin at the center of the bridge. Suddenly he takes off toward Manhattan and she sprints off toward Brooklyn. On the Manhattan side he hails a yellow cab, jumps in and seems unsurprised to find Kate, they speed off for dinner in Chinatown. On the Brooklyn side Kate steps into a green sedan driven by no other than Bobbie. So begins this cinema of alternate realities played out on the same day in different boroughs by the same couple. Along with scene-matching color coordinated wardrobes, the words yellow for the cab, and green for the sedan, are prominently displayed on screen as a reminder of how to keep track, because it only gets stranger from there.

In Manhattan Bobbie and Kate's plans turn nightmarish as Bobbie's attempt to return a lost cell phone turns deadly as two desperate claimants threaten and chase him, one claimant murders the other and the chase continues to a roof in Chinatown where Bobbie and Kate try amateurishly to ransom the cell phone, soon becoming victims to high-tech paranoia as they are tracked block by block, leaving nowhere to hide. Later, on the roof top, they make love and all is right with the world. In Brooklyn Bobbie and Kate's parallel universe counterparts pick up a stray dog on the way to the family BBQ where they deal with familial love and manias, ending in fireworks in the sky and between the sheets. Even though the two stories never converge or influence each other, Manhattan Bobbie and Kate and their real-time Brooklyn clones manage to escape their captors and chase their dreams simultaneously from the centers of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge, bridges a mile apart on the east river, no easy feat.

Written, produced and directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, their collaboration is in a cavalier hand-held camera style meant to show momentum but succeeds only in proving attention disorder has become standard move fare. The movie is further made worse by intentional improvisation throughout, a style lending itself to doleful stares and lame conversation. The final script contained no dialogue, the actors were given acting parameters and told to switch it on, and it shows. The dialogue is unnatural and witless,often just stupid, the audience laughed. It is plain the actors are straining to come up with a meaningful flow of conversation.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is that kid from Third Rock from the Sun, which by the way ran for 133 episodes, and he has made a huge number of forgettable movies, he's lovable but stiff as Bobbie in this gimmicky, overlong thriller. Lynn Collins, an X-men starlet, goads and presses, sighs and pouts and confirms their total lack of chemistry.

I tried really hard to like this movie, after all it is an out-of-the-box love story with a young couple and a dream, but something was missing. Oh, I remember, it's called character development. While inventing a snappy if preposterous plot, they neglected to give the characters any depth at all. In Brooklyn I wasn't sure which relatives were present, in Manhattan they awake on a Chinatown rooftop, starry-eyed in love, fresh-breathed and ready for coffee. Character development linked to an improvisational style didn't work in high school and it doesn't work here and other than the scenic NY panoramas, there is not much to look forward to or back from, no matter which bridge your standing on.

Jonathan W. Wind for Movie Magazine International

© 2009 - Jonathan W. Wind - Air Date: 12/09/10
Movie Magazine International