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Out of Blue


Stars: Patricia Clarkson, James Caan, Mamie Gummer, Toby Jones, Jacki Weaver, Brad Mann, Todd Mann, Jonathan Majors, Aaron Tveit

Director: Carol Morley

An ordinary murder thriller is rendered arthouse fare by a series of add-ons: a neurotic detective (Clarkson), a non-linear, semi-existential treatment and a series of quirky, almost Lynchean characters.

It seems that Mike (Clarkson), an ex-alcoholic with all sorts of personal baggage, has cracked the case; then she collapses into thinking she's wrong and contemplates suicide before returning to the original culprit, but with different conclusions. It's all very strange - and very slow as well.

Jennifer Rockwell (Gummer), a brilliant astro-physicist/researcher, is found shot dead. Her friend (Tveit) and a fellow professor (Jones) are under suspicion, but no gun is found, and her red scarf is missing.

The victim is from a notably dysfunctional family: dad (Caan) is a war hero who walks with a stick, and mom (Weaver) is a flighty, faded blonde with secrets to hide, while the family business is run by their twin sons (Mann brothers).

At the same time, the cops must hunt the '38 calibre killer' who has butchered blondes similar to Rockwell, and taken 'souvenirs' from his/her victims.

It's all pretty unlikely, and our detective goes through much self-flagellation before making the crucial deduction, similar to those made by Endeavour Morse on TV.

All this over-elaboration is pretty annoying and, like many BBC/BFI co-productions these days, you wouldn't put much money on it making too many beans at the box-office, Gummer is a hell of a singer but, with Meryl Streep for a mother, that shouldn't surprise us.

David Quinlan

UK/USA 2018. UK Distributor: Picturehouse. Colour by Fotokem.
109 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 27 Mar 2019