Uncertainty is a difficult film to review. It is one that is likely to either be loved or hated...but I am on the fence with this one. I felt manipulated by the gimmicky plot that bounces back and forth between alternate realities. Uncertainty tells the story of a couple, Bobby (Jason Gordon-Levitt) and Kate (Lynn Collins), who appear to make a life-changing decision with the flip of a coin.
The coin flip takes place at the point on the Brooklyn Bridge where you are halfway in Manhattan and halfway in Brooklyn. Following the coin flip, the lovers run opposite directions. Bobby heads toward Manhattan (Green) while Kate runs toward Brooklyn (Yellow). The color designations are indicated boldly as each parallel story begins to assist viewers in tracking the alternate story-lines. Bobby arrives at the Manhattan side of the bridge where a green-clad Kate picks him up in a green mini-van. Meanwhile, Kate jumps into the classic yellow taxi where the alternate Bobby is waiting wearing yellow. The color themes are integrated into the background of the film to further add a visual element to the story.
The green story line is a rather mundane workaday tale that has a more dramatic element. The plot tracks their interaction with Kate's family. Kate's mother doesn't approve of Bobby but is very cordial toward him. Kate is a dancer and actress and her mother fears her relationship will take her off track. It likely will, considering she has not yet told her mother she is pregnant. The entire plot line was uneventful to the point of boredom. To interject life into the story, the film frequently cuts back and forth to the more suspenseful yellow plot.
The yellow plot never fully explains why the couple are continually on the run from killers, but hints that a cell phone that they found in their taxi cab might have belonged to the Lottery director. It has Cyrillic writing that appears to be very important to the cell phone's owner as well as another menacing caller. After witnessing a homicide during an attempt to return the phone to its owner, the duo end up in a seemingly endless chase sequence. The chase scenes become so overdone that they are tedious. If you were to play the two plot lines separately, the first would be boring and the second ridiculous. By combining the two story-lines, the film manages to at least find an awkward balance. A balance that didn't necessarily make it better.
One thing that surprised me about the writing in this story is that they began with an idea but allowed the dialogue to develop naturally. Sort of a film experiment in improv. I would give the film kudos for doing something different and would never have guessed that the film was unscripted. But that didn't make the dialogue good. It did prevent the dialogue from seeming overused. But the lack of clear direction did seem evident at times. The film sort of meanders along...even during the chase scenes. It often seems pointless or unrealistic.
The acting in Uncertainty was actually good. I thought Gordon-Levitt and Collins had great chemistry. Because the dialogue was unscripted, the exchanges flowed naturally, making the actors appear very comfortable in their roles. The successful aspects of this film stem from the great interaction between the two. None of the rest of the cast stood out to me. They were simply background noise.
Uncertainty takes an interesting concept and turns it into a film. The concept might have been better deployed as a film short, because I could feel the length of the film stretching beyond its natural limit. The extended chase scenes were especially irritating to me...and often illogical. The concept of alternate possibilities and the actions/consequences angle provided an excellent foundation for film. But it wasn't done nearly as well as it could have been. I would suggest that the "ad lib" quality would have been better in a shorter format...but a well-written script could have more carefully crafted the plot lines to reach feature film length without the gimmicks. I felt manipulated by this film and bounced between boredom and tedium. A seemingly contradictory position considering I enjoyed the performances (mostly) and thought the concept was interesting. I think some film buffs might like this for originality. But for the average viewer, I will give a non-recommendation. 4/10.
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