■ (Release Info U.K. schedule, March 21st, 2015, Picturehouse ARTS 38-39 St. Andrew's St, Cambridge CB2 3AR, 10:15 AM)
■ (Release Info London schedule; March 30th, 2019, Picturehouse Central Cinemas Ltd 7th Floor, St Vincent House, 30 Orange Street, London, WC2H 7HH, 18:30 PM)
■ (April 5th, 2019, The Lexi Cinema, 194b Chamberlayne Road Kensal Rise, London NW10 3JU, 18:30 PM)
"Out Of Blue"
When leading astrophysicist and black hole specialist Jennifer Rockwell (Mamie Gummer) is found shot to death in her New Orleans observatory, unconventional detective Mike Hoolihan (Patricia Clarkson) is responsible for investigating the scene of the crime. Strangely, this highly experienced police woman is greatly disturbed by the sight of the victim lying face down, her face shot off, in a large pool of blood. Is detective Hoolihan starting to soften under her thick professional armour? This doesn’t stop her from becoming so immersed in investigating the case that at times it seems as if she's losing her mind. Which raises the question of the extent to which she's really an objective outsider. As Mike tumbles down the rabbit hole of the disturbing, labyrinthine case, she finds herself grappling with increasingly existential questions of quantum mechanics, parallel universes, and exploding stars, cosmic secrets that may hold the key to unraveling the crime, while throwing into doubt her very understanding of reality. The hunt for the killer draws the detective into an even larger mystery; the nature of the universe itself. In this whodunit, with nods to the golden age of film noir, the search for the truth leads the detective into the black hole of her own past.
"Out Of Blue" opens with the soon to be dead astrophysicist Jennifer Rockwell observing the night sky and stating. You can tell a lot by looking. This act of looking links Jennifer and Mike, who in different ways have been involved in the act of looking their whole adult lives, one at clues in the sky, the other at clues on the ground. From the moment Mike appears, the point of view of the film is hers. But are we watching a mind create its own unique reality? Is what we're watching a delusion? Are Mike’s intrusive experiences hallucinations? Do we really know what's real and what's the creation of Mike’s mind? Or have we found ourselves in a parallel universe? The reliability of what we see, and what we choose to look at, is a massive through-line in "Out Of Blue". Towards the end, Mike gives her magnifying glass to Bray Rockwell (Todd Mann), brother of Jennifer, and tells him to look at a clue. Through the eyes of a fucking crazy lady detective cop, he says, reluctant to take on her female gaze. But he does, and by looking through her eyes, a powerful truth finally emerges. Mike isn’t immediately knowable or likeable often perceived as a big flaw in characterisations of women, she isn’t trying to court sympathy or connection. Mike has secrets and hidden dimensions and offering up a truly complex portrait. Mike is a character who resists the standard definitions of how women should be. Within the film she says it herself; there are many ways to be a woman.
Embedded into Detective Mike Hoolihan’s investigation, that ultimately reveal to be an investigation into herself, are some of the discoveries about quantum physics, cosmology and psychology. As the film starts out, Mike’s world to feel familiar, like a standard police procedural, and then to travel far from that, into the realms of the unexplained and the inner self, and become another kind of mystery. The film loves the idea of the audience finding themselves in Mike’s position, looking for clues anywhere and everywhere, as they inhabit her tangled web of uncertainty. We watch the characters and their often hidden motivations. The film explores the idea that we all wear masks, that a person is not necessarily who they seem to be. All of the characters in "Out of Blue" are wearing a mask in one way or another, hidden from view in plain sight. Even the city of New Orleans, with it's magical thinking, voodoo, and the beads and masks of 'Mardi Gras', is disguised through windows and oblique views. New Orleans was self-dubbed in the 1930’s, the city that care forgot, which was intended to romanticise a hot, laid–back city; but the slogan can also be interpreted as a city that6s, consciously or unconsciously, hiding it's complicated and messy past; just like Mike is.
The screenplay for "Out of Blue" is an adaptation of Martin Amis’s novel 'Night Train'. The film is inspired by homicide departments. We're haunted by how unoccupied the big communal office spaces often are and how one department saved on energy by keeping the overhead lights off, so it becomes lit by an array of lamps brought from home. It's about the personalities of the detectives, to the sounds around them, to how much paperwork they did, to the way they responded and were shaped by their brutal, crime-riddled world. To how night drifted into day and day into night. The film discovers that we all come from stardust, and therefore are all biologically connected to each other. We see the characters as a constellation of stars, and we drawn into the mysteries of their universe and their minds.
Suicide runs through the film. It's a cosmopolitan theme. It feels almost occult, the characters are taking over our mind, seeping into our dreams, and they're encouraging us to alter the nature of their story. "Out Of Blue" encapsulates what so much of the film is about, the blue of the night planet, the blue of the police, the blue of human emotion and the thin blue line of our atmosphere. The film is obsessed with the power of the gaze, how we construct it, who possesses it. Awash in dreamlike, neo-noir atmosphere, this one-of-a-kind thriller is both a tantalizing whodunnit and a rich, metaphysical mind-bender.