Tumult begins with Adam Whistler confused by his own ideas of identity. He is confused as to the emotion he feel. The lack of anything other than emptiness. He doesn’t know who he is anymore or what it means to be in the relationship with Sarah. A relationship that has lasted 10 years. He splits from her after a holiday and re-evaluates his life anew. He grows a beard, finds drinking and a script that might work. He meets Morgan, a woman of mystery. She comes into his life a moth. Nightlight draws her in. Then disappears as the morning light rises. Adam feels dislocated. As the story progresses, we find that this dislocation is not only suffered by him but by almost everyone his age. Morgan is a series of dislocated personas. When people die around her, is Adam at risk of being next?
I can only sometimes admire the sheer effort made by a creator or creators. With Tumult you can see the effort with narrative drive, visual production and colouring. These are well worth praising. They amount to hundreds of hours of work and thousands of ideas compiled into a coherent series of images. The blending of emotion and visual exploration took time. The use of language and its extrapolation of exposition is skill-full and has taken time and thought. The only problem with Tumult is that it feels completely empty. Forget all these ideas and think of it like this. The characters are dull and one dimensional. One character feels like a film geeks wet dream and is shoe horned in to give voice to one of the creators obvious love of cinema. He keeps popping up and extolling the virtue of why a film like Die Hard is deeper than an action film and is about some abstract sociological idea. Then you have the leads relationship with Morgan. This is sold as ‘Hitchcockian’ or a renewed version of Patrica Highsmith’s work. It lacks any of these works dark elements and becomes almost masochistic. The couple are so obnoxious and irrational that I hoped someone might do away with the both of them. They live a life in a version of London I have never seen (I have lived here all my life) and feels like the place ‘discovered’ in the awful film Hampstead. This is a shame. The novel might have been a staggering thing. It comes off as a ‘hipster’, middle class wet dream that lacks anything other than the vanity of those building it.