Monday, April 6, 2020

Review: Lost Transmissions

Release date: March 13, 2020
Running time: 105 minutes
Starring: Simon Pegg, Juno Temple, Alexandria Daddario

Lost Transmissions follows talented musician / producer Theo (Pegg) as he experiences a mental breakdown.  After a promising career as a musician, Theo developed schizophrenic tendencies that manifest occasionally.  Although seemingly doing fine at first, these tendencies again come to light as his new relationship with Hannah (Temple) develops.  Unfortunately, having burned many of his previous bridges, Hannah is the only one willing to try and help Theo as his condition worsens.

This movie is really driven by Simon Pegg's phenomenal acting.  Theo is unpredictable, charming, and completely insane at times.  Pegg effortlessly goes between these personas and has to pull a lot of personalities to drive the story home.  Pegg generally plays eccentric comical characters, and it was exciting to see that skill set translated to a more serious role.  Juno Temple is likewise good, but doesn't exhibit the same range as Pegg, although that is probably by design.  She is a good foil to Pegg, with a more grounded persona, but it would have been nice if she really pushed herself here rather than have a more muted performance.  And since Pegg plays a musician / music producer, the soundtrack in this film is fantastic.  I especially liked the scenes where Theo builds a song from the vocals up, to show how much layering can change the way something sounds.

And although Lost Transmissions does have a pretty interesting story, revealing more and more about Theo's past and his mental state as the movie progresses, the story itself is not very exciting.  It is propped up by some really great acting and interesting characters, but it doesn't grab you as much as I was hoping it would.  It has several powerful moments but the remaining story bits are often muted and seem to go back and forth on how Hannah is going to approach her relationship and sympathy with Theo's illness.  And sometimes the story does seem to take quick turns without really connecting them.  However, one thing that I did appreciate about this film is that it does a good job of highlighting how much mental illness can bring down those around you.  Hannah is forced to take care of Theo because no one else will, and her personal and professional life take a hit because of this.  However, although the story goes off the rails at times it does manage to come back together for a satisfying conclusion.  

Lost Transmissions is led by fantastic performances by its leads, with a story that has great music and some powerful moments about mental illness.  

Rent it.

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