Directed by: #GergőElekes
Parallel universes are hot. Doctor Who have given them a couple of whirls, Rick and Morty have them coming out of them plumbuses, and now the Avengers are dipping their capes and masks into the multiverse. So, it’s no wonder why Gergő Elekes is focusing on parallel universes for his latest surrealist sci-fi / action / adventure / fantasy / horror / comedy / romance / psychological thriller / drama.
Now, if you’re thinking “that sure sounds like a heck of a lot of genres for a forty minute film”, it’s because it is. And if you’re thinking “wow, how does it manage to juggle all of those different genres without it becoming a bit of a mess”, it doesn’t.
The basic premise is: man doesn’t know his dad, man finds dad’s mysterious coordinates, man goes to coordinates to find out more about dad but instead ends up in wacky parallel-universe-travelling-hijinks.
It's certainly a fun idea, and there’s plenty of marks to be awarded for ambition. There’s also a certain sense of humour about the film; the Volkswagen Golf as a sort of pseudo-DeLorean is as charming as it is funny, and throwing such ordinary folks into such an extraordinary situation allows for some quirky and quaint comedy. There’s a sense of the home-made to Parallel – its clear that Elekes and everyone involved have put their all into the film, and had a swell time making it; but much like when your nephew shows you he can use the big boy potty for the first time, its not much to get excited about as a viewer.
The best parts of Parallel are when it ventures into the weird and wonderful, but it never explores these avenues in nearly as much depth as one would hope. Instead, there’s a lot more focus on lengthy awkward dialogue scenes. It’s hard to tell if the clunky dialogue is a result of poor writing or just poor translation but either way it’s a bore, and the flat cinematography and editing, and lifeless performances certainly don’t help things much. Péter Inoka is meant to be our leading man and he’s certainly the most likeable of our three central characters, but he doesn’t bring any energy to the role. Although, you can hardly blame him, given that the role itself is so underdeveloped, it can legally be aborted in the UK and Ireland.
Ultimately, it has its charm, but it takes itself too seriously, and seems so unaware of its strong points that you have to consider that these aren’t quirky comical moments, but just plain trite.
Perhaps it could even fall into the category of ‘so-bad-its-good’; yet, the hamfisted talky scenes are so mundane that even the most forgiving of viewers would struggle to find the fun in subjecting themselves to it. Oh well; they tried, I guess.