Rainbow Time (2016) Review

Rainbow Time, n.    a movie created by 40-year old, mentally challenged Shonzi (Linas Phillips) and his brother, Todd (Timm Sharp). Featuring their father, Peter (Tobin Bell), and Todd’s girlfriend, Lindsey (Melanie Lynskey).

Rainbow Time is the story of leather jacket and sunglasses-wearing, gun-toting, babe-getting Shonzi and his crotchless ninja brother, Todd. At least that’s the home movie backdrop of the film the real Shonzi creates, films and stars in whilst dealing with more pressing issues and drama. The film’s plot revolves around Shonzi, who is a perverted and blunt, aspiring director; Todd, who can’t seem to simply talk about his feelings and resorts to lashing out physically and verbally; and Lindsey, a very open-minded and gentle soul who wants to see the best in people. Shonzi  wants to be ‘the cool guy’ and wears leather jackets, loves guns and swords, can’t get his mind off of women, and does one hundred push-ups a night.  He also can’t seem to stop peeping in on Todd and Lindsay’s intimate moments, which are already a problem for them due to conflicting sexual interests. The three play off of one another ebbing and flowing from one awkward situation to another as Todd gets increasingly more aggressive towards Shonzi, Shonzi keeps pining for Lindsey, and Lindsey can’t seem to find footing to be stern with either. You also get small glimpses in to them being alone and dealing with their own private problems. The plot itself is fairly solid and follows a believable trail of events aside from maybe how unsurprised each character responds to Shonzi’s constant shenanigans, though you have to think it is probably normal for them by this point.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure how to feel about the film. It’s obvious that it tries to have multiple deep meanings within the realms of feminism, equality, relationships, family, etc. but it also backhands those meanings with every turn. As much as it tries to show growth and humility from its characters, the funniest parts were the most crude. One scene will have Shonzi aim a crude comment towards Lindsay then end up in a fight with Todd, they make up and resolve the issue, then as if nothing at all happened Shonzi makes an even funnier comment in the same vein. There is even a scene where Lindsey and Shonzi blatantly mention feminism and go in to a scene of growth and maturity, then completely 180 immediately afterwards. It’s this kind of back and forth that really makes the movie tedious and feel longer than its 1 hour and 31 minute run time because it feels like neither you nor the trio ever truly meet a resolution.

The movie had to have done something right though because by the end of it I was questioning how I would react in each character’s shoes. As Todd, would I be angry and worn down after years of heeding to every phone call and comment? As Lindsey, could I fully understand what was happening between the brothers and would I even want to deal with its strain on my relationship? And as Shonzi, how hard would it be thinking every day about women, not understanding whats right or wrong, and how to get the happiness you constantly see others having? I think that as much as the overall themes and lessons the film tries to convey don’t even remotely hit the mark, the way that the characters show their emotion and relationships made me care for them more.

I really don’t think a huge amount of people are going to like Rainbow Time. I wanted to enjoy it more than I did, I wanted to be able to recommend it to a lot of people because on the surface it seems like it could be great, but unfortunately it’s just a tough movie to pin. The way the characters interact is the best part of the whole film, but I think it’s how overall pandering it can be mixed with the sheer dullness created by the lack of focus. One minute this is fine, the next minute it isn’t, now we’re learning about this and now we aren’t. It just dulls the entire movie.

I’d have to give this a 5.5/10


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