Monochrome: The Chromism film review

★★★★

Directed by: #KodiZene

Written by: Kodi Zene

Starring: #JoshBangle, #DevinLeigh, #CatMerritt, #RyanBarnes

Film Review by: #JackBottomley




Not everything in this world is black and white they say. But in #KodiZene’s post-apocalypse inspired #MonochromeTheChromism, that is very much the case and the introduction of colour is not just a stylistic choice but the very source of the narrative turmoil. Monochrome: The Chromism is very much the first part of a wider story, as it relays the origins of a world divided and ruined, a world fractured by colour, namely the outcast ‘Hues’, “infected” people left colourfully glowing in a grey world, who are rounded up and sent to the powers that be, supposedly to help solve this worldwide crisis.


Central to this story, which feels almost as though it should be inspired by a graphic novel or comic series, is the ‘first Hue’ Isaac Ward (#JoshBangle), a man on his way to find a solution to not only how Hues came to be but why they are being hunted down and captured so ferociously when these individuals are not unchanged in any way excluding their eminent colour. Opening with credits and music reminiscent of a film in the #Predator or #Terminator series, this film quickly establishes a #BookofEli meets #MadMax visual style. In fact, rather ironically, #GeorgeMiller’s #MadMaxFuryRoad was released in a ‘Chrome Edition’ and this film strongly reminds of that kind of rundown world.


After an initial introduction to Isaac and this chrome society, beautifully shot in the title Monochrome black and white, you are absorbed by some superb scene setting imagery that evokes a #TerminatorSalvation or #TheRoad sense of dystopia. The dustbowl settings are especially wonderful and Zene’s cinematography is professional and impressionistic, helping set the mood for his story. After an opening stretch, the film wisely takes us back a year before the ‘Chromism’ and we see how Isaac’s story came to be and get glimpses of how this world did too, as the Hues arrive and disorder comes with them.


There is an undeniable message in the film about colour, namely how the Hues are a different colour but exactly the same as everyone else, and how authority figures can institute a moral panic or start a war over that and those that are different. Some elements get a little overshadowed (the Western war and nature of the virus) but this is possibly a result of there being more to come in this story and Zene’s screenplay is wiser to focus on the human element as it indeed does.


There are a lot of ideas and when put alongside the sterling visuals, this creates a very aesthetic film that could almost play as well with limited dialogue. #LozenFükem’s costume design work and Sha’ul The Israelite, #DevinLeigh (who also plays the shadowy antagonist ‘Suited Man’) & Kodi Zene’s selectively used score adds some further edges to this facet and gives this film a strongly presented look and feel, which is really well achieved on the no doubt limited budget. The script itself is good, in spite of some heavy handed lines that borrow heavily from the rulebook of the genre, and I never once found myself losing interest because of how well the story is delivered, how strong Isaac is as a central figure and perhaps how timely his struggles are in our current climate.


Josh Bangle does a very good job in the lead role, giving the character a relatable beginning before realistically becoming a Max Rockatansky style survivor of this unforgiving world. Some of the supporting performances are a bit over the top but not allowed to become ridiculously so and while some aspects are - no point intended - unshaded or spontaneous (Isaac’s brother’s manic phases for instance), the film has the benefit of a committed cast. Though, it is undoubtedly the quieter moments that hit the best, be it Isaac travelling across the sandy dusty dilapidated settings, a Hue child unforgivingly torn from the arms of an alarmed mother or (my personal favourite) a visually wowing sequence at the back of a bus between Isaac and #ShashanaPearson’s frightened traveller (who popped up earlier in the film).


Monochrome: The Chromism, is a film that shows just how much can be accomplished nowadays with style that assists the plot in its motivations. A very enjoyable and accomplished first step into the ‘Monochrome World’ hinted at come the end of the movie (which kind of recalled #BladeRunner2049’s final quarter set-up, as a pressured minority prepares to rise) and the credits.


Watch the Official Trailer Below: