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Spinning into madness: Toby Jones as Carl in Kaleidoscope.
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A date from hell in this psychosexual thriller

Kaleidoscope review: Rupert Jones directs his brother Toby in this pleasingly discombobulating thriller

Carl (Toby Jones) lives alone, high up in an anonymous block of flats. He has few possessions and even fewer friends, save for his neighbour Monique (Cecilia Noble), who is happy to help out with a clean shirt when Carl decides to give online dating a whirl. Inappropriately snazzy attire aside, Carl’s date with the flamboyant Abby (Sinead Matthews) is no fun to watch. She quickly pegs him for a man who has lately been released from prison. She smokes. He doesn’t. She drinks. He frets. She dances. He worries that the neighbours will complain about the music. And then things go wrong. Really wrong. Date from hell wrong.

Just as Carl is trying to piece together the unpleasantness of the evening, his mother Aileen (Anne Reid) arrives. He speaks to her entirely in barks and hisses, as if the existing psycho-sexual murkiness needed further amplification.


Intrigue

Rupert Jones directs his brother Toby Jones in this unsettling Hitchcockian intrigue. Picking up where he left off with the magnificent Berberian Sound Studio (2012), the more familiar Jones brother does terrific, paranoiac work. There are echoes of Repulsion in his lonely, confined descent toward madness. His familial relations fall just south of Norman Bates. The locale is an earthier, neighbouring borough to the alienating architecture found in Richard Ayoade’s The Double.

For all these movieverse overlaps, Kaleidoscope is very much its own thing. Cinematographer Philipp Blaubach, who previously brought aptly claustrophobic composition to The Escapist and The Disappearance of Alice Creed, crushes and cramps every grubby tableau. Tommy Boulding’s edits flag Carl’s increasingly unhinged psyche and keep the viewer guessing. The sound design by Mike Prestwood-Smith (who was Oscar-nominated for his work on Captain Phillips) adds to the dread.

A pleasingly discombobulating thriller.