Never Here
dir-scr Camille Thoman
prd Julian Cautherley, Bronwyn Cornelius, Elizabeth Yng-Wong, Radium Cheung, Corey Moosa, Camille Thoman
with Mireille Enos, Sam Shepard, Goran Visnjic, Vincent Piazza, Nina Arianda, Ana Nogueira, David Greenspan, Desmin Borges, Angelica Page, Jarek Truszczynski, Alok Tewari, Jacqueline Antaramian
release US 20.Oct.17, UK 21.Sep.18
17/US 1h50
Never Here
The usual suspects: Enos

shepard visnjic piaza
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Never Here Dreamy and involving, this gloomy, low-key drama gets into the mind of its central character in a clever way that combines art and personal trauma. Writer-director Camille Thoman inventively creates a vague story of intrigue without the usual trappings of a mystery thriller, quietly building the unsettling tension with wry irony and artful observation. But it's also very indulgent.

In her work, artist Miranda (Enos) uses everyday events, pulling threads to see where they go. Although she's in trouble for using someone's lost mobile phone in a project. When her friend Paul (Shepard) witnesses an assault out her window, he needs to be discreet, so Miranda claims she saw it happen. But this leads her into an increasingly confusing sense that she's the target of something nefarious. So she starts following the man (Visnjic) she suspects is the attacker. Meanwhile, she rekindles her romance with old friend Andy (Piazza), the detective on her case.

Eerily, Miranda narrates her own story as if she is turning it into a new installation for her gallery. Perhaps all of this is an expression of her creative imagination. She suspects that the man (Greenspan) whose phone she found might be stalking her, and she has a haunting obsession with Paul's detailed description of the assailant and the resulting police sketch. But the victim (Arianda), Miranda's neighbour, is perplexed by inconsistencies in her story.

Enos is superb at the centre of these bizarre events, as Miranda coaxes herself to continue her halting investigation. She never seems to worry about what she'll find, perhaps because she knows that anything that happens will make the art project even better. But her interest in people she doesn't know feels unhealthy and invasive. And Enos is intriguing as she remains brightly offhanded in public, moody and intense on her own. All of the side roles are much smaller, but Shepard injects some real power into what would be his final role.

Intriguingly, Thoman never builds much suspense until the twisty finale, despite skilfully deploying several Hitchcockian touches. There are involving moments, and powerful emotions, plus a vivid sense of impending doom. But the mystery unspools without momentum, never quite defined enough for the audience to know what it means. This may be clever, especially as it explores much bigger ideas, but it makes it difficult to care. So even if the movie is beautifully directed and acted, pretty much everything about it remains maddeningly enigmatic.

cert 15 themes, language, sexuality 16.Sep.18

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Never Here Still waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.

© 2018 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall