The Possibilities are Endless (2014)
Editor’s Notes: The following review is part of our coverage of the Reel Indie Film Festival. For more information on the festival visit http://reelindiefilmfest.com/ and follow the event on Twitter at @RIFF_Toronto.
The Possibilities are Endless is a documentary film directed by James Hall and Edward Lovelace based on Scottish singer/song writer and musician Edwyn Collins.
The film is an unusual yet moving account of the life of Edwyn Collins starring himself, his wife Grace Maxwell and son William Collins, after he suffers from a life crippling brain haemorrhage. The film documents his life post rehabilitation and how with the love and strength of his loving wife, he manages to regain semi-functionality, even performing a live song in the film.
This style of filmmaking, where the viewer is immediately put in the perspective of character, and forced to experience ‘his/her’ reality tie the story in an unusual manner.
In the beginning of the film we see a vintage footage of Edwyn Collins in an interview. Right after this, you are are thrown into this, chaotic mayhem of images and sounds that put you right into the mind of Edwyn and straight into the scene of action. It’s a wonderful contradiction, from how in the beginning the mind that was called full of ideas is suddenly a blur of incoherent entities. This style of filmmaking, where the viewer is immediately put in the perspective of character, and forced to experience ‘his/her’ reality tie the story in an unusual manner. I loved the conflux of visuals; I could actually feel my heart racing trying to understand what is going on. The way the images and the sounds have been edited makes the whole experience quite immersive and engaging.
Movie actually starts after 23 minutes, from visuals and montages we go in current timeframe, showing the singer contemplating on his thoughts of past glory. The film is a lovely portrait of a talented man, ravaged by his illness but yet determined to give his all to life, the film is a silent triumph of the human spirit, and why in our deepest depths of life, all is not lost. This movie is kind of a reminder of how our past and memories shape us, and how much we would be lost without those precious moments which make us who we are. This movie will make you appreciate all those moments.
Everything has been taken care of in the film. Every little detail. Beautiful cinematography, beautiful editing, even the sound design is impeccable; the shots in the film really make you feel as if you are in it, alive and breathing.
Everything has been taken care of in the film. Every little detail. Beautiful cinematography, beautiful editing, even the sound design is impeccable; the shots in the film really make you feel as if you are in it, alive and breathing. This film has a sad, poignant melancholy laced in it, a love story interwoven with a man’s fight for his sanity, which really touches your heart. Combined with the nonchalant, honest narrative and the beautiful shots this film makes you wonder what would you do if it happened to your loved one. What would you do if your own idea of self was based in past memories which you struggle to recall every moment. What would you do, feeling disconnected in thoughts and just hoping people don’t give up you.
The manner in which the film has been shot, being subjected to just images of beautiful sceneries and listening to a man speak – at times incoherently, may not be everyone’s cup of tea though. Because the film has mostly visuals which give a sense of melancholy, Edwyn Collins himself is shown very rarely in the film. The film mostly plays around with footages of the Scottish countryside, shots of the sky, long fields, the sea. These mostly try to show Collin’s memories, state of mind, etc. Slightly monotonous, the sounds overpower the narrative at places and sometimes the footage has no connection with the audio or any meaning (or so it seems). At these times the viewer’s attention might be lost for a while. As a commercial release this film might be considered damp, but as a film in itself, it’s different and refreshing at times. For someone who hasn’t been a fan of Edwyn Collins or isn’t aware of his music the film might not be a thrilling experience but bearable because of it visuals.
As a visual experience, it is exhilarating, as a film, not so much.