Picturehouse have sent through to us here a film we have been rather excited about. Based on Martin Amis parody of American detective novels called NIGHT TRAIN, OUT OF BLUE is Carol Morley’s take on the novel and in many ways the Neo Noir genre. Detective Mike Hoolihan (Patricia Clarkson) is an unconventional New Orleans cop. When astrophysicist Jennifer Rockwell (Mamie Gummer), an expert in black holes, is found shot in her observatory, she is tasked with investigating. Mike’s investigation seems to open a wider series of questions and these create as many questions as answers. From quantum mechanics to parallel universes, Mike is descending into space and time without seemingly an option to escape from this reality. Though what is reality and can see find the core to anything, including the answer to the biggest question, who murdered Jennifer?
NIGHT TRAIN hangs like a dark cloud over OUT OF BLUE. It is the case sometimes when a visionary director like Morley takes on another visionary in the shape of Amis. OUT OF BLUE is not NIGHT TRAIN. It is not as much a parody of the genre mechanics of noir but instead a cross between post war noir films like THE HOUSE ON TELEGRAPH HILL (in sense of tone and enviroment) and an infusion of David Lynch (espically BLUE VELVET). Morley succeeds often in making a shift in its metaphysical agenda early on. The work is Morley’s and not Amis, so credit is to be place firmly into her hands for this. The story unfolds like an onion. Each layer contorts and contracts, leaving the viewer scrambling for clues. Sometimes even pulling the skin of the piece apart again to check it. It questions our understanding of science and reality, throwing up confusion and contradictions. These add to the mystery and the intention is clued on. My only negative is in conclusion it feels slightly elongated and concludes without paying off all it had spent time setting up.