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Simon Pegg And Juno Temple Are At Their Best In “Lost Transmissions”

How much can a pair of tremendous performances elevate a feature? Is a movie ultimately flawed if the acting is what makes it worth seeing? On the flip side, can a duo on screen drag a film across the finish line? If you’ve read my reviews in the past, you’ll know I think that performance can overcome other flaws, so Lost Transmissions is in luck. One of the titles to have just played at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, it’s a flick that needed the acting within it in order to survive. Just what do I mean? Well, read on for more…

The film is a melodrama about two troubled individuals, though one is struggling way more with mental illness. For Hannah (Juno Temple), life is hard, but she’s not suffering like Theo Ross (Simon Pegg). When they meet at a party, she’s charmed by the music producer. However, she’s unaware that he’s schizophrenic, and not only that, has just gone off of his meds. As they get closer, she begins to care for him and take part in the ongoing quest his friends are on to get Theo to go into a mental hospital. Whenever they try an intervention, he goes on the run. When he runs again, this time Hannah is with him, trying her hand to talk him into this. At the same time, the more she learns about our country’s mental health system, the more horrifying it becomes and the bigger investment she has in Theo’s well being. Katharine O’Brien writes and directs, with Arnau Valls Colomer handling the cinematography and Hugo Nicolson composing the score. In addition to Pegg and Temple, the supporting cast includes Alexandra Daddario, Tao Okamoto, Robert Schwartzman, Bria Vinaite, and more.

This movie lives and dies on Pegg and Temple. They’re phenomenal here. Both Pegg and Temple have never been better, exercising new acting muscles and causing you to re-evaluate what each is capable of. Pegg goes to dramatic heights in a way we’ve never seen before, truly capturing your attention and your emotions. As for Temple, the actress has long been under utilized in role after role, rarely getting to showcase her talents. Here, she does, in a part not asking her for nudity, but emotional nakedness. She’s more than up to the task. Sadly, Alexandra Daddario is completely wasted in a small supporting role.

Beyond those performances, Lost Transmissions is the sort of festival title unlikely to find much of an audience. Tribeca could be the only real hurrah for it. Pegg and Temple are terrific, though O’Brien never quite connects her story to the audience. The lead duo do it for her. At almost two hours, it runs a little too long and has a frustratingly lackluster payoff. That being said, when we’re just admiring Pegg and Temple, the picture truly sings. They’re at the best and help make O’Brien’s vision something a student of acting can get behind. Her vision is slightly murky, but she has two able guides to lead the way.

If you’re a fan of Simon Pegg or Juno Temple, Lost Transmissions is going to be a title to look out for. This just played at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, as previously mentioned, so the movie may sit around for a bit waiting on distribution. Once it has that locked in, a release date will be discussed. Until then, the film just will hover in the minds of those who dig on Pegg and/or Temple. Those folks would do well not to forget about it either, as it’ll be a treat for them, to be sure. Sit tight for more on this one…

Be on the lookout for Lost Transmissions!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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