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MOVIES: The Rainbow Experiment - Review: The World You See is Just a Movie in Your Mind

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Tragedies don't occur in a vacuum. If they did, the news wouldn't be plastered with human trauma and plight at all hours of the day. When something terrible happens, there is a ripple effect. The Rainbow Experiment aims to chase down every single one of those ripples extending out from a science experiment gone terribly awry.

Featuring an impressive cast of 36 talented actors in principal roles, much more fill out the background of students, parents, law enforcement, and teachers, The Rainbow Experiment is an exercise in indulgence.

Mrs. Dhawan (Nina Mehta) conducts an experiment for her rowdy group of Chemistry students. She uses a Benson burner and different solutions to demonstrate how various chemicals create multi-colored flames when set alight, hence the film title. When she calls one particularly disruptive boy, Matty Fairchild (Connor Siemer), to assist her in the work an explosion happens, engulfing Matty in a fireball that leaves him in critical condition in the hospital. Thus putting the events of the film into motion.

The central questions sought to be answered are how did this happen? Is Mrs. Dhawan at fault for the incident? What really occurred in the chemistry classroom at this New York high school? And more importantly, what part did those students, that teacher, the faculty, and the ecosystem of this particular school as a whole, play in the lead-up to this catastrophic event?

From this point on, Matty narrates much of the events in this documentary-style film. He lingers around in the background, unseen and unheard, like a ghost, just for the audience's effect. It becomes clear quickly why the film creators thought Matty a necessity, there is so much going on in this film, an endless web that weaves outwards to seemingly endless bounds, you need a spiritual guide to help you find out whose who.

Thus presenting the film's greatest weakness, they've bitten off more than they can chew. Well that and Matty is a rather irritating narrator.

While I found The Rainbow Experiment thoroughly engrossing at times, the performances are stellar and grounded, the slow submersion into the movie's central mystery, and the intriguing way the film shows you the political interplay between all involved parties, there is so much going on, it's easy to get bogged down and overwhelmed by it all.

The world you see is just a movie in your mind.

It's an ambitious filmmaking project for certain. Many scenes are shown in a split screen, with several angles and point-of-view shots from differing characters playing out simultaneously. They leave no stone unturned.

You will discover the story between Matty's friend of a friend and that friend's parents. They tackle gun control and the educational system, the poor treatment of teachers and staff. They tackle trauma head-on, in a way not often depicted in film as they address the way trauma affects witnesses of the incident, and not just the victim or perpetuators.

Broken down into segments and analyzed in pieces, The Rainbow Experiment is actually quite brilliant, but when you compile it all together into one long film (a 2 hr and 9 minute run time that doesn't feel earned), it becomes a slog to get through at times.

Still, I have to give credit to director Christina Kallas (who also wrote the script) for her earnest and enthusiastic undertaking. I'm not going to undermine what this film accomplishes because while I don't think it reached the heights it should have, given the concept and the climate it's being released in, I still think it's a film well worth anyone's time

The Rainbow Experiment also stars Christian Coulson (Tom Riddle from Harry Potter), Kevin Kane (I Feel Pretty), Chris Beetem (Orange is the New Black), Vandit Bhatt (New Amsterdam), Francis Benhamou (Daredevil), Lacy Marie Meyer, Swann Gruen, Margaret Rose Champagne, Booker Garrett (The Detour), Stratos Tzortzoglou, Chris Gentile, Robert Z. Grant, J.B. Roté, Laura Pruden, Tony White, Catherine Cobb Ryan, John J. Concado (Guardians of the Galaxy), Tim Eliot (Boardwalk Empire), Naomi Warner, Barnaby Spring, Chris Veteri, Douglas Rizzo Johnson, Lisa K. Price (Trainwreck), Peter Boustani, Patrick Bonck, and Richard Liriano.

Available nationwide VOD December 7th and comes home on DVD/BluRay December 11th from Gravitas Ventures.

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