Sunday, August 4, 2019

The Tangle (2019)

I recently had the pleasure of viewing The Tangle at a film festival several times. It’s a near-future post-singularity murder mystery. Beyond the logline, it’s a deep examination of mankind.

It took me until a few weeks before the film’s scheduled August 30th release to post this due to the difficulty in finding things to say about it that don’t make one sound like an idiot. This is a “smart movie” for literary and scientific audiences. Despite this, the film is still substantiated by material that will keep the average moviegoers on the edge of their seats.

On a technical level, everything works. The DVD screener hit the subwoofer hard, but some of the vibratory ambience seemed to advance the story, periodically indicating a force field or some other machine nearby. There is always something interesting happening, and you see it as well as hear it, even though the characters spend most of their time trapped in a room.

Everyone in the auditorium was entranced by the experience. I was less in awe on first viewing, but on subsequent viewings I grew to appreciate the film more and more. I became aware of the profound ideological dilemma that the film poses: Would one prefer calm and comfortable complacency or individuality? If every need is adjusted to, you become homogenous like all the other predictable humans on the planet. Which version of which world would you prefer?

Without giving too much away, the bald protagonist sicks the Tangle on his friends. What an asshole. To be fair, they did sorta torture him, and he’s an algophobe like all the other complacent Tangle users, so maybe he was just pissed enough to side with the robots. He comes across as someone dealing with an addiction, which was no doubt intentional.

Overall, The Tangle is a brilliant film that gets better on repeat viewings. The filmmaker pulled it together on essentially no budget over the course of a couple years, but you wouldn’t know it unless someone told you. Let it serve as a reminder that independent films are not universally garbage. This particular film is a masterpiece.

The Tangle is set to come out on August 30th. The details of its release are unclear, so one can assume home video and streaming. It’s a shame that absent massive marketing budgets, artful films like this often end up in the bargain bin next Steven Seagal’s latest and greatest. Hopefully it can find a cult following.