Review: After Blue

Written and directed by Bertrand Mandico, a chimeric future on After Blue, a planet from another galaxy, a virgin planet where only women can survive in the midst of harmless flora and fauna. The story is of a punitive expedition. Starring: Elina Löwensohn, Paula Luna, Vimala Pons and Agata Buzek.

If you could mash together almost every genre you could think of, you’d probably end up with something like After Blue. Whether or not that’s a positive thing is massively up for debate as this is undoubtedly a highly obscure and unusual watch. It starts out diving headfirst into fantasy and sci-fi, then gradually brings through touches of westerns and supernatural cinema. One key element though is how keenly it emulates erotic cinema of the 1960s and 1970s. It moves like a physical representation of lesbian sexual frustration but at the same time leans towards an exploitative feel, much like the erotic films of the mid 21st century.

Wherein lies one of its problems because at a certain point the fairly aggressive use of nudity and sexuality becomes unnecessary and repetitive. Especially when it’s a film primarily made by men, it doesn’t hold a genuine sexual tension, becoming more forced as time goes on and taking over too much of the story. That then brings up its next big issue, which is the lack of plot, it does have one but the speed with which it progresses is extremely slow. It visually moves through different territories but the entirety of its story feels too similar in tone. There is the mother, daughter vein that runs throughout but considering how much it moves to the forefront in the latter scenes, it hasn’t built their relationship up nearly enough to balance that out.

You can definitely see that Bertrand Mandico threw everything he had at After Blue but it doesn’t create enough of an interesting experience to justify that. The Kate Bush bit gets very tired well before it’s near its ending, the tongue in cheek culture references are much the same. It unquestionably has a great deal of colour and creative design but it’s a tricky thing to sustain for a two hour feature and it can’t achieve that because in its final stages it quickly starts to feel fatigued. You can see the sincere effort that went into creating this oddity of a world but there just isn’t enough backing that up to make it work and to hold your attention consistently.

After Blue is extremely strange and throws a lot at you with its colourfully odd aesthetic but its story is too weak to keep you invested for two hours. The use of sexuality bleeds into the exploitative, and the unending nudity feels unnecessary, attempting to distract from the fact there’s very little movement to its story. There’s nothing to truly invest in with these characters, having little personality, and every element simply slowly blends into one.

Verdict: ✯✯ | 4/10

In UK cinemas from 7 October – click here for more info

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