Run time: 1h50m

Director Carol Morley

Cast: Patricia Clarkson, James Caan, Jacki Weaver, Toby Jones, Mamie Gummer, Aaron Tveit, Todd Mann

Synopsis: When homicide detective Mike Hoolihan (Patricia Clarkson) is called to investigate the murder of a leading astrophysicist in New Orleans, she is confronted by a mystery that begins to affect her in ways she had never expected. As the investigation deepens, a darker world is slowly revealed and she must use all of her skills and experience to piece together fragments of a wider conspiracy that lies behind the murder.

Visionary director Carol Morley – whose films include The Alcohol Years (2000), a BAFTA nominated film about her scurrilous teenage past; Dreams of a Life (2011), which went behind the anonymous newspaper headline about Joyce Vincent who lay dead in her flat for three years; and The Falling (2014) – has now made an intriguing adaptation of the Martin Amis 1997 novel Night Train.

The story follows veteran New Orleans homicide detective, Mike Hoolihan (the spellbinding, protean Patricia Clarkson) as she investigates the grisly death of an astrophysicist (Mamie Gummer). The case is complex, the clues don’t quite fit together and the victim’s family may not be entirely trustworthy. Key items seem to have a personal connection for Hoolihan, a recovering alcoholic. Struggling to unravel what happened dredges up memories of her traumatic past and also a cold serial killer case. Is she too busy looking around for simple answers to realise that some of the mystery lies within her? An offbeat, dream-like neo-noir and metaphysical mystery emerges to challenge the viewer.

Morley’s film is a genre changing game changer; packed with cinematic style and visual stylishness, this intellectual metaphysical neo noir film impresses with its discussions of Schrödinger’s cat and allusions to Greek mythology.

With dreamlike cinematography from Conrad W. Hall and a suitably moody score from Clint Mansell, Out of Blue also has a superb ensemble cast.

Two immediate murder suspects emerge – Ian Strammi, Jennifer’s shifty boss at the observatory (Toby Jones) and Jennifer’s handsome boyfriend-colleague Duncan Reynolds (Jonathan Majors); there is the victim’s father Col. Tom Rockwell ( James Caan) and twin brothers, Brad and Bray (Todd Mann). The other women in the case are also weird and suspicious. Jennifer’s mother Miriam (Jacki Weaver) is eccentric and odd, with a reporter Stella Honey (Devyn Tyler), who materialise at the most opportune times to draw out Mike’s deepest secrets.

There are Lynchian dream like sequences – notably Jennifer Rockwell (Mamie Gummer) singing ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’ in a club – and homages to Nicholas Roeg, as the brittle, haunted, meticulous cop Mike Hoolihan, with feverish energy, unravels the crime with its increasingly existential questions of quantum mechanics, parallel universes, cosmic secrets and exploding stars.

A bold, glorious, gritty, evocative, stylish, compelling, metaphysical mystery that benefits from repeated viewings.

Out of Blue was also screened at the Glasgow Film Festival on 27 February 2019

Images courtesy of :Picturehouse Entertainment

Director Carol Morley with Alan Hunter, Co-Director of Glasgow Film Festival on February 27, 2019