Cinequest: The Rainbow Experiment (Slamdance 2018)

The Rainbow Experiment

There’s a lot going on in The Rainbow Experiment and that’s just saying the least of it.

Writer-director Christina Kallas follows up 42 Seconds of Happiness (2016) with the New York-set The Rainbow Experiment.

There’s a lot going on following a science experiment gone awry at a Manhattan high school and one unlucky student, Matty, will pay the consequences for the rest of their life due to an injury.  It’s Matty Fairchild (Connor Siemer) who ends up narrating the film even as the accident leaves him in a coma.  The experiment’s failure ultimately results in chemistry teacher Lisa Dhawan (Nina Mehta) being placed on a leave of absence only thirty minutes into the film.  Alis Willmore (Lauren Sowa) takes over in her place.  Her introduction in a faculty meeting also serves as a way of introducing so many of the school’s faculty.

The Rainbow Experiment is a film that will be too slowly paced for some and paced just right for others.  Throw in the two hour-plus running time and the end result is ultimately, a film that can be frustrating for some viewers.  As much as it pains me to say it but this is a film that could have been improved merely by shrinking the cast and cutting out some time every now and then in order to tighten up the feature.

Despite its faults, however, Kallas shows some promise as a director.  To the film’s advantage, Kallas brings a Cassavetes approach to the film, leaving the actors with room to work.  Make no doubt about it, with a smaller cast, there certainly could have been a better film to be made here.  Instead, it’s one that’s heavy on cast with way too much going on from start to finish.

If there’s a lesson to be learned from The Rainbow Experiment, it’s that science experiments are no joking matter.

CAST:  Chris Beetem, Francis Benhamou, Christian Coulson, Kevin Kane, Nina Mehta, Laura Pruden, Connor Siemer, Lauren Sowa, Swann Gruen, Christine McLaughlin

Premiering at the 2018 Slamdance Film Festival, The Rainbow Experiment is an official selection of the 2018 Cinequest Film and VR Festival.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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