Reminiscence is a fickle factor. It’s the model of our reality, a deeply private interpretation of occasions that shapes our very being. And but it may be misplaced shortly, with defining moments, individuals, and locations falling away into nothing. For therefore lengthy, I believed that that prospect was maybe probably the most terrifying factor about reminiscence. However along with his function movie debut “Ultrasound,” director Rob Schroeder proves that having your reminiscences manipulated by an exterior power is even worse.
The lo-fi sci-fi movie begins with Glen (Vincent Kartheiser) stumbling right into a stranger’s home after an unlucky automobile accident in the rain. There, he meets Cyndi (Chelsea Lopez) and Artwork (Bob Stephenson), a weird married couple with a blunt air around them. Nothing is off-limits, from Artwork’s anti-depressant schedule to the scandalous means they met. It’s primarily an introvert’s worst nightmare because the couple shortly banters forwards and backward whereas Glen remains to be dripping moist of their kitchen. This weird tableau unit has an uncomfortable, unsettling tone the place every little thing is just too clearly efficient; one thing very fallacious is afoot.
After a sexual tryst between Glen and Cyndi at the request of Artwork, we flash to a model-new character diving right into a swimming pool. This jarring shift shakes the viewer out of the earlier weird scene and locations them into a way more typical circumstance. That is, primarily, the expertise of “Ultrasound” as seemingly disparate elements come collectively to create a posh puzzle involving a sound frequency that may manipulate reminiscence, a political conspiracy, and trick pregnancies.
“Ultrasound” is structured like a reminiscence: by no means fairly grounded in a single time or place, however moderately, it’s free-flowing, main the thoughts on a long-winding journey to an unknown vacation spot. The movie’s asynchronous storytelling is harking back to Michel Gondry’s 2004 movie “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” a purposefully fractured story about making an attempt to neglect a tough breakup. “Ultrasound” is an analogous puzzle, however with political conspiracy in addition to confronting private trauma at its core.
Much more than that, “Ultrasound” confronts the entire violation of bodily autonomy that every character suffers at the hands of these shaping their reminiscences. Glen really believes he can’t stroll. A lady named Katie (Rainey Qualley) is absolutely satisfied she’s pregnant. These moments push “Ultrasound” into the realm of disturbing, displaying the complete extent of how straightforward it might be to persuade the thoughts of a brand new reality. Sure, that is science fiction, however between the low-tech nature of the machine that creates the frequency and former tales of brainwashing, the occasions in “Ultrasound” don’t appear too far-fetched. It is terrifying.
Whereas “Ultrasound” efficiently evokes these existential emotions of dread, it doesn’t preserve a constant tone, caught someplace between desirous to be severe and taking part in out like a Michel Gondry movie. Schroeder and author Conor Stechschulte additionally herald too many gamers and too many storylines that muddle the emotional effect of anyone’s narrative arc; it turns into tough to really spend money on what’s taking place whenever you battle to maintain up with who’s who and what timeline we’re in.
Regardless, “Ultrasound” is an exquisite sci-fi indie that reveals to us why the horrors of the long run will not be so distant and the way our id is reminiscence. Our sense of self is so fragile, so simply manipulated, and Schroeder’s movie speaks to our present world the place reality is a malleable idea, evoking a creeping sense of paranoia that will comply with me for days to come back. So treasure these reminiscences and people’s experiences. And don’t assume too laborious about simply how true they’re.