It’s an interesting choice of direction when a filmmaker opts to almost entirely omit a plot in favour of style, as is the unfortunate case in Offer Egozy’s Fantastic. It’s a decision that the audience is forced to live with, although they might regret that they did.
The unseen Hilary has stolen someone else’s identity and is promptly murdered. Before he dies he sends a number of pleading telegrams to his friends, choosing them to track him down in the town of Bakersfield, California.
That is pretty much it, in terms of story, although there are a number of sequences where characters earnestly exchange exposition, in a bid to remind the audience that there is indeed supposed to be a story. The actors behave as though sedated, and their faces almost never move. Mild surprise is perhaps the most extreme emotion on display. They are also dressed like villains from a low budget 1950s sci-fi movie.
The film is shot in 35mm and the exterior scenes are bathed in light. The artificiality of the interior sets is obvious, and this might be in order to reinforce the hyper-real world that Egozy has attempted to create. It might also be because this seems to be an ultra low-budget film.
The camera barely moves, and again this might be a budgetary issue. A long static take is much easier to shoot than a scene that requires multiple camera setups. There’s theoretically nothing wrong with constructing a scene in this manner, of setting a stage and allowing the actors to play from it. Sadly in this case they have very little to actually play with.
Like an experimental student film that was stretched to (barely) feature length, Fantastic makes for an unremarkable viewing experience. When viewed in isolation, there’s something to admire in the individual scenes, but overall the film is far less than the sum of its parts.
Fantastic does not have a UK release date yet.
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Watch a clip from Fantastic here: