Rotten Tomatoes (***)
Director Molly Hewitt’s outlandishly stylish debut feature may be a stunningly visual and audio feast that frequently tickles the funny bone, but it fails to deliver on substance due to its unfocused, meandering narrative. The premise is indeed a clever one: a dominatrix with a fondness for huffing aerosols has an unexpected reaction to an allegedly spiritual cleansing product that suddenly gives her the ability to talk to the dead, an ability she doesn’t know what to do with. Unfortunately, neither does the filmmaker when it comes to telling the protagonist’s tale. This offering’s inventive production design, vividly colorful sets, off-the-hook costumes and energized soundtrack – all punctuated by ample splashes of unabashed sexuality, kink and punk culture – make for captivating viewing reminiscent of the cult classic “Liquid Sky” (1982). There are also New Age references aplenty, some legitimate, others served up with good-natured skewering. However, far too much emphasis is placed on these background elements at the expense of presenting a coherent, evenly paced story, undermining the value of these other fine attributes. Regrettably, this very much seems to be a case of a director who doesn’t know when to make cuts in the material, no matter how good some of it might be, for the sake of work overall. Still, the look and feel of this release show that its creator indeed has vision, even if she hasn’t quite found her voice yet. After all, everyone has to start someplace.