Kaleidoscope is a taut, psychological thriller that explores the inescapability of a destructive relationship between a middle-aged man and his mother. At the heart of this modern-day “Psycho” are some unsettling questions: Can we ever escape the role in which we are cast by early circumstances? Is a perpetrator first a victim?
The film starred Toby Jones, the well-known actor who portrayed Truman Capote and, more recently, portrayed the mad scientist on television’s “Wayward Pines.” It is the first original feature film by Toby’s brother, writer-director Rupert Jones.
Rupert Jones has had success with shorts, pop promos, television and theater work, but, as he told the audience at the end of the film, he had presented brother Toby with 4 other feature film projects and this was the first time that he agreed to star in this psychological drama.
There are some very interesting camera angles throughout the film (staircases, apartment cubicles, etc.), which tells the story of a rehabilitated ex-convict, Carl Byrne (Toby Jones) who tries to return to the dating game while adjusting to life on the outside. A hopeful date night is shattered by the unwelcome appearance of his dreaded mother, whose mere presence sends Carl into a psychological tailspin with deadly consequences.
This twisted Hitchcockian tale of mother and son gleefully explores how just the right push can send anyone over the edge. Toby Jones’ co-star in the film as his mother, Anne Reid, is well-known in Britain for playing comic parts. Said Rupert, “She was very keen to sully that reputation.”
As for the sets, Rupert Jones said, “I knew it had to be a one-bedroom flat. I sort of had it specifically in my head. The ground floor was to be a place of seduction; the kitchen was the public space and then there was movement, light to dark.” Rupert Jones also shared another stylistic device: “I wanted to start a film with a dead body.”
A disgruntled audience member at the end of the film when the lights went up shouted out her question: “So can you tell me what happened in this film? Did he kill her or was it all in his head or what?”
Confusion reigned supreme for some of the audience members.