13th November 2020

Spontaneous Review: It Is Explosive In Most Unexpected Ways

Spontaneous

Starring  Katherine Langford, Charlie Plummer,

Directed  by  Brian Duffield

Rating: ** ½ 

 Life can get  awfully messy. Just imagine, you are in a  highschool attending a class when all of  a sudden one  of your classmates explodes….Yes! Simply explodes into a mass of bloodred particles  that splatter on  your  schoolbag and  render your  fear of the unknown more pronounced than ever before. Then follows a series of such explosions in one  school only. Maybe this school didn’t pay  its electricity  bills.

It’s all very ominous and  a disturbing but also a   bit  farcical.And that’s the way  director  Brian Duffieldintended  it. I saw  Spontaneous as trying to be a biting  satirical exposition of  the current Covid crisis. But then  I got to know the  film was completed before the pandemic. And released   8  months  into the ‘explosive’ situation in  the plot.

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 It all seems strangely apt and  yet hideously improper, as  our  protagonists Mara(Katherine Landford) and Dylan(Charlie Plummer, whom I always wrongly  presumed to be the veteran Christopher Plummer’s grandson after  they played  grandpa-grandson in All The  Money In  The  World)  try to live their love stories as friends in the school explode  in the air.What more  ‘poof’ do we  need of life’s vagaries?

The  sanitization, the quarantine, the anti-virus suits…nothing works. Anyone can  blow up  anytime.This  idea of  a vicious vagary  governing  lives  of  a bunch of carefree  youngsters  is   interesting, if not exactly  a source  of  great entertainment.  Luckily for him, and us,  director  Brian Duffield keeps the proceedings  light most  of time. Towards  the end when things begin  to get really hopeless  the  film plunders  the depth  of the  young heroine’s  despondency  to bring us some  reason to  be hopeful  about  life. 

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The leading lady is  one such pain killer. I must admit  Katherine Langford is  quite a  find. She has  an instinctive  ability to make the most incredible scene  look  convincing. Charlie Plummer’s puppy-act in  Ms Langford’s presence is  touching, though her proclivity to take  the  people close to her for granted began to get  to me. That includes  her  best friend  Tess(Hayley  Law) . Once  the  pandemic(for  the want   of a better description of  the disastrous scenario)   starts Mara and   Tess’ friendship comes  under a lot of  stress.

I  found  the plot eventually  carrying  more than caring. Too much was happening and too little  time to settle down  into a groove in this restless script.There is  a sequence at  a graveyard featuring  Mara and  Mara’s future  mother-in-law where they discuss loss. So much to lose when the  next moment is  shrouded in  uncertainty.  Spontaneous  revels in that uncertainty. For  better  and  for worse.

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