“Kaleidoscope” Features Toby Jones Picking up the “Psycho” Mantle

Kaleidoscope is a taut, psychological thriller that explores the inescapability of a destructive relationship between a middle-aged man and his mother. At the heart of this modern-day “Psycho” are some unsettling questions: Can we ever escape the role in which we are cast by early circumstances? Is a perpetrator first a victim?

The film starred Toby Jones, the well-known actor who portrayed Truman Capote and, more recently, portrayed the mad scientist on television’s “Wayward Pines.” It is the first original feature film by Toby’s brother, writer-director Rupert Jones.

Rupert Jones has had success with shorts, pop promos, television and theater work, but, as he told the aud

ience at the end of the film, he had presented brother Toby with 4 other feature film projects and this was the first time that he agreed to star in this psychological drama.

THE GOOD

Kaleidoscope film written directed by Rupert Jones starring Toby Jones photographed by Andrew Ogilvy Photography
Kaleidoscope film written directed by Rupert Jones starring Toby Jones photographed by Andrew Ogilvy Photography

There are some very interesting camera angles throughout the film (staircases, apartment cubicles, etc.) and a progression of light tat helps tell the story. The story is of a rehabilitated ex-convict, Carl Byrne (Toby Jones) who tries to return to the dating game while adjusting to life on the outside.   A hopeful date night is shattered by the unwelcome appearance of his dreaded mother, whose mere presence sends Carl into a psychological tailspin with deadly consequences.

This twisted Hitchcockian tale of mother and son gleefully explores how just the right push can send anyone over the edge. Toby Jones’ co-star in the film as his mother, Anne Reid, is well-known in Britain for playing comic parts. Said Rupert, “She was very keen to sully that reputation.”

As for the sets, Rupert Jones said, “I knew it had to be a one-bedroom flat. I sort of had it specifically in my head. The ground floor was to be a place of seduction; the kitchen was the public space and then there was movement, light to dark.” Rupert Jones also shared another stylistic device: “I wanted to start a film with a dead body.”

THE BAD

As shouted out by a disgruntled woman at the end of the film when the lights went up: “So can you tell me what happened in this film? Did he kill her or was it all in his head or what?” Confusion reigned supreme for some of the audience members.

 

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About Connie Wilson

Connie (Corcoran) Wilson (www.ConnieCWilson.com ) was the Quad City Times film and book critic for 15 years and has continued reviewing film uninterruptedly since 1970. She also publishes books (31 at last count) in a variety of genres (www.quadcitieslearning.com), has taught writing or literature classes at 6 Iowa/Illinois colleges or universities as adjunct faculty, was Yahoo's Content Producer of the Year 2008 for Politics, is the author of It Came from the 70s: From The Godfather to Apocalypse Now, and writes on a variety of topics at her own blog, www.WeeklyWilson.com.