SOFT MATTER Review – When Art, The Ocean, and Complete Insanity All Collide
Starring Ruby Lee Dove III, Hal Schneider, Mary Anzalone
Written by Jim Hickcox
Directed by Jim Hickcox
Ever have the overwhelming urge to just in front of your laptop or television and just completely lose yourself in a frenzied heap, and it was contingent upon whatever demented creation was laid out before your eyes? Enter Jim Hickcox’s Soft Matter – one of the aforementioned berserk presentations that’ll without a doubt have you scratching the skin off of your skull before, during AND after this one is through. Let’s get our feet wet with this ultra-fishy tale of art, madness and all around lunacy.
With the backdrop in place that eerily depicts an abandoned hospital, we peek in on the sadistic undertakings of Drs. Kriegspiel (Anzalone) and Grist (Schneider) as the daffy duo, and what they’re tinkering with is not only the essence of life but how to make it last forever. You see, they’ve managed to successfully (somewhat) entwine the DNA of not only man but sea-creatures that are deemed immortal – sounds like a science experiment that’s destined to either revolutionize the framework for longevity or crash and burn with the ferocity of a million angry…octopi, if you will. Turns out that this forgotten foundation of hospice hasn’t only been scoped out for inhabitation by the docs – we’ve got a pair of artists (Dove III and Devyn Placide) who are hoping to utilize this “vacated” space for their latest works.
Added to the already completely full banquet of bonkers here, there’s a rather pissed-off sea creature (or Sea-God as he’s known locally) that has been lying in wait and is biding its time to wreak havoc upon those who’ve ventured into the slimy end of its pool. If you bust out your cuckoo calculator and tally up all the instances of complete and utterly frenetic energy, your total screen would be filled to capacity and your fingers would emit smoke from their tips. Hickcox’s choice of presentation and performers is most certainly an interesting one, but there are a few instances where I found myself starting to pay close attention as to what was on the screen, and visually the movie looks admirable for being a low-budgeted film. The dual motives of the artists and doctors was something I was interested in seeing play out in totality, and aside from some minor sidetracking (in a good way, of course) the plan was stuck to and seen through with little error. The film’s got more than its share of humorous moments and personas gelled together in such a way that it was pleasing to witness conveyance, even though you had to traverse some seriously screwy paths in order to get to your destination.
Overall, I’d probably not give Soft Matter the go-round more than one time, but for all intents and purposes it wasn’t a terrible way to kill 70 + minutes – give it a peek but don’t feel restricted by those tightening straps on your “I love me” jacket – it’s a necessary piece of wardrobe when eyeballing this one.
Hickcox’s delve into a colorful pool of passion for one’s art, as well as the heinous intentions of some sick individuals trying to play god all tally up to a oceanic film that could leave your mind a bit on the seasick-side of things.