Emma Rose (Jo Woodcock) is a young woman who finds herself in dire straights after becoming entwined in one of your huge financial cock-ups (of the nation wide variety) thanks to her boyfriend socking away millions in knicked pension funds. To escape that hot mess she blows like the wind to the bucolic English countryside where she accidentally discovers (as one does) that she has a real passion for killing wealthy landowners (who employ her for “casual work”). Enter Gabriel Lenard (Cosmo Jarvis), an investigator with synesthesia (you know, like he can see sounds and the like) hired by the British Crime Agency to track ol’ Emma down. Will Gabriel, who’s condition allows him to see things at crime scenes others can not, be able to find Emma and recover the loot?
Monochrome is nothing else if but original. The inclusion of the synesthesia (though under used…see below) is a nice element not found in your normal serial killer yarns, and our hero is not the rumpled, grizzled noir-type hero usually found in these affairs…not to mention Emma being an unconventional (and surprisingly understated) murderer. Both characters are well played by Jarvis and Woodcock respectively, and the whole thing plays out low key (minus a few visual touches to visualize Gabriel’s neurological condition) yet engaging.
On the negative end of the spectrum, you know how I mentioned “low key” earlier…well, that can, and should be interpreted as “unbelievably glacial passed and devoid of overly aesthetic visual flair”. Now, this by no means that the movie is bad or boring, it isn’t, it just takes it’s sweet ass time getting where it’s going, and is very matter of fact on how it presents the journey. Also, as previously mentioned, the most interesting aspect of the story, the synesthesia element is severely underutilized. Had this been played up we would have had a real stand out on our hellish hands, but alas…
If you are in the mood for a more cerebral, dramatic serial killer flick; Monochrome will be right up your alley…just prepare for a very slow burn.
For more on Monochrome from Horror Fuel, head here!