Saturday, 31 January 2009

Review: Chemical Wedding

Looking forward to Sci-Fi-London 2009 - here's a review of a film that premiered at the 2008 festival: Director Julian Doyle admitted quite openly at the Q&A afterwards that this was to make sure it opened to a reasonably welcoming reception. Good decision. This is a hard film to swallow if you're not a science-fiction or fantasy fan, do not possess a fairly open mind and a sound sense of humour. However it's not a SFG-deficiency film - if you're able to suspend disbelief this is an original and well-made film with much to recommend it. Alastair Crowleigh, famous historical occultist, is resurrected in the body of a mild-mannered lecturer and continues his campaign of mischief and black magic in the present day.

The Q&A was fun too. We, the audience in the second of two screens, were initially banished to the second screen however due to a technical fault or some magical mischief we weren't able to participate in the discussion by videolink so we sneaked into the aisles of the first screen. Writer Bruce Dickinson (Bruce Dickinson!) and star Simon Callow were clearly enjoying themselves and both have infused the film, and the resurrected character of Alastair Crowleigh with a strong sense of wicked fun. No doubt the excellent direction played a part in this but Julian seemed keen to portray the film more as a serious attempt to link the worlds of science and the supernatural. All three seemed united in their fascination with Crowleigh and their desire to bring his life to their audience - the film succeeds in this. It was a shame not to hear more from the other actors as they were present at the screening, although Lucy Cudden was understandably unwilling to go into too great detail about that scene with the fax machine.

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