Tangent Room, 2017.
Directed by Bjorn Engstrom.
Starring Lisa Bearpark, Daniel Epstein, Hakan Julander, Jennifer Lila, and Vee Vimolmal.
Trapped in a mysterious room with no escape, four brilliant minds race against time to prevent a cosmic collapse of the universe. They must learn to work together and solve the puzzle before it’s too late.
One of the great challenges in film is to create engaging sci-fi on a micro budget. Over the years there have been a number which have successfully managed to pull off the feat, opting for a minimalist approach. It takes careful scripting, intelligent approach and strong vision. You can opt to focus elements into a singular location too. In certain regards this also adds a level of efficiency to the production, minimising the need to separate sequences and travel. Single location films, whether Sci-Fi or not are also incredibly challenging to pull off, but when you’re working under the constraint of a micro budget, it can be a challenge film-makers wish to undertake.
Tangent Room does just this. The film, which sees four brilliant minds brought together and shut in a room, given four hours to decode a sequence of numbers. As their time progresses they start to realise that the fate of the universe could be at stake. They must work out the how and why, before discovering the next step after ‘the event.’ A mix of the claustrophobia of Cube, with the mathematics and time physics musings of Pi and Primer, Tangent Room works as a successful stab at low-budget Sci-Fi.
Here’s the thing; We’re in a genre fraught with pitfalls, and when you throw in the small matter of dialogue heavy musings over equations and physics, time travel theories and more, you steer a ship that could easily end up hitting murky, iceberg laden waters. Audiences can lose focus and willingness to engage if too much boggling information is thrown at them. Thankfully, writer/director Bjorn Engstrom skilfully navigates through this largely unscathed. Sensibly keeping the film to a lithe 60 minutes.
The cast are very good. When you confine your characters to a single setting, you likewise throw a weight around your cast, but through engaging performances they maintained my interest throughout, so kudos go to Lisa Bearpark, Daniel Epstein, Hakan Julander, Jennifer Lila, and particularly Vee Vimolmal. There’s also a great score from Jean-Paul Wall.
The film had a very productive festival run last year and it’s easy to see why. An engaging an intelligent sci-fi film worthy of being held in the same breath as Primer.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Tom Jolliffe is an award winning screenwriter and passionate cinephile. He has three features due out on DVD/VOD in 2019 and a number of shorts hitting festivals. Find more info at the best personal site you’ll ever see here.