“Spin State” is a paranoid British thriller about a disturbed private eye who finds himself investigation a scientist who might have some clues about the source of his disturbance.
But as we follow Kline (Jamie Robson) as he tails and surveils scientist Hans (Carsten Clemens) who gives lectures on Advanced Spin Statistics, and skulks around assorted vast, abandoned or little used ex-defense department facilities (radar dishes, etc.) toting a conspicuously mysterious metal briefcase, we’re left pondering just how little a thriller can get away with not showing us before we fall asleep.
Sure, there’s “explaining.” The wife of scientist Hans (Seya Sarvan), who hires PI Kline, teaches him about Fibonacci numbers and “super determinism” and time-space-multiverse stuff (not really) as she tries to keep this paranoid, medicated gumshoe engaged and on the case.
If only she and the filmmaker had shown similar concerns for the viewer.
I got a chuckle out of “inconspicuous” Kline trying to blend in while tailing his mark in a noisy, rarish 40 year old Porsche 924. Even paranoid private eyes have got to have that “car with character.”
Of course, Kline has a partner (Will Harrison-Wallace) named “Archer,” because “Marlowe” and “Sam Spade” were a tad too obvious, I suppose. Private eye partners are always getting killed and/or irked at their wayward co-worker.
“You wouldn’t know a friend if he punched you in the mouth!”
The movie has lots of striking settings — pictured above — emphasizing medicated Kline’s solitary state. And it’s loaded with “paranoid” tropes.
“I’m involved in this case for a reason,” Kline mutters, some time after we’ve seen his telltale “Beautiful Mind” wall, covered in maps, newspaper clippings, photographs and the like. Yes, he has a seriously sketchy/pushy “doctor” (Aurora Fearnley) who makes housecalls that seem more about what she can find out than what she can offer to help.
We can chew on the strange symbol tattooed on Kline’s torso, wonder about the big Conspiracy and ponder his back story and what triggered his obsessive state of mind.
Or you can skip that, as I did it for you. That’s my suggestion.
There’s just not enough to this, barely even a hint of violence, and Hans speaks in a Euro-accent that requires subtitles, just one of the ways that a cryptic but not deep indie no-name-cast indie thriller fails to invite the viewer in and makes one wonder how one can get those 94 wasted, overcast and gloomy minutes back.
Cast: Jamie Robson, Seya Sarvan, Aurora Fernley, Will Harrison-Wallace
Credits: Scripted and directed by Ross A. Wilson. A Random Media release.
Running time: 1:34