“We’ll decide, and it’ll be a good decision.” “…Will it be the right decision?”
The Scoop: 2009 NR, directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Lynn Collins
Tagline: The choice is theirs.
Summary Capsule: A young couple decides their day by chance, and lives out the consequences.
Eunice’s rating: Why won’t they stop talking? Please, please make them stop talking.
Eunice’s review: Dipping into Eunice’s dictionary, there’s a genre of movies I like to call the “what ifs.” I break these into two groups: Movies where a character asks themselves what would’ve happened if they’d done this, or that would’ve happened, etc. See: Family Man, Mr. Destiny, Peggy Sue Got Married, or even (the OG) It’s a Wonderful Life.
Group two, from which our title comes from, is the audience-only awareness that cuts back and forth between possible destinies. A niche to be sure, and (at least as far as I know) still a rare beast that mostly roams the indie plains. I have a soft spot for group one, but I admit I’ve got a softer spot for group two. I suspect this has a lot to do with the fact that, when done right, it can be really wow or thought provoking and other awe inspiring things.
So when I saw the trailer for Uncertainty I was instantly interested. Then I forgot about it. My memory, she is fickle. Seeing Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Inception I thought to myself, “Wait… wasn’t he in a ‘what if’ movie I wanted to see?”
Uncertainty opens with a young couple, the man -Bobby- dressed in green the woman –Kate- dressed in yellow, who are trying make some decisions, the most immediate how to spend their 4th of July. Standing on the Brooklyn Bridge they toss a coin. One goes to Brooklyn, the other to Manhattan, effectively splitting the parallel universes into GREEN and YELLOW (yes in all caps). Team GREEN decides to go spend the day with Kate’s family. YELLOW decides to ditch the family gathering to spend the day together.
GREEN’s is a drama with them getting flowers to help smooth over Bobby’s relationship with mum, find the owner to a stray dog, and go through the usual grind of family/outsider awkwardness while shedding light on the cryptic dialogue of the opening.
YELLOW, however, goes into suspense territory pretty quick. Our couple finds a cell phone in the back of a cab, and generally nice guy Bobby wants to return the phone. But instead of just holding onto it to see if the owner calls the number trying to find it, Bobby starts going through the numbers saved in the phone leaving messages with his full name and his own cell number. Moron. Why “moron?” Because, of course, the phone ends up belonging to a shady character with thugs and money at his disposal. Ruh row!
Maybe if I hadn’t actually been looking forward to seeing it I’d feel differently, but for me Uncertainty was a huge disappointment. It seems there was no real script written for the movie, instead relying on the actors and directors to develop dialogue during rehearsals. And it shows. A lot. In fact, I almost gave up watching before the opening credits were finished because I could not imagine putting myself through listening to them yammering for a whole movie. I’m also not sure if it’s strictly the acting (Lynn Collins is horrible, but no one [except the uncle] exactly brings the A game here), bad directing, or some weird dubbing mishap, but the emotions are flat, and the speaking unnatural, with weird rhythms. The amount of over explanations for EVERYTHING (my all caps) dumped in is also incredibly grating.
Not helping is the fact that, in both universes, Bobby and Kate are annoying, with YELLOW being TSTL. He thinks of something stupid, she whines and thinks of something even more lamebrained, and somehow they keep living. Why won’t they die already? Gaaah! And they chew with their mouths open.
The worst part though is, the parallel universes thing comes off as just a gimmick. It’s like two separate movies. And then it doesn’t really end, just kinda stops. Completely pointless. I do not get the point. Maybe the point is like the spoon, there is none.
So why’d I keep watching? Along with a masochistic need to finish movies no matter how bad, there are some nice visual touches. The ideas are there, but nobody knew what they were doing with them, and it probably would’ve been a better short film. Uncertainty is a perfect example of concept over content.
Is this the worst movie I’ve ever seen? Nah. Maybe I’d give it a D, D-. But I would like to direct your attention to the bottom of this page to check out the “If you liked this movie, try these:” for movies I would recommend you spending your time on over this. Or Inception, that movie is awesome!
- Rashomon is the movie they’re watching in the theater. Also better and on the “Go see that instead” list
- YELLOW Bobby’s [rock] [paper] [scissors] shirt is cool
- Lynn Collins has Kelly-Lynch-circa-Road-House chest!
- That is one ugly dog
- The ace of spades you say?
- Wait, they turn back on the phone, just to turn it on, and then turn it right back off?! WHY?!
- Hey there’s people wanting kill us and we may get $500,000, let’s go watch fireworks.
- “O Canada!”
- He can’t even turn off a phone? Really? They are both so stupid!
Bobby: Is today the day?
Kate: I don’t know. Maybe.
Bobby: What’s your gut tell you?
Kate: That I’m nauseous.
Bobby: How bout less literally.
Kate: I’m afraid of deciding.
Bobby: I’m not afraid of either scenario, but it’s just… I want this to be something we’re doing, not something we’re not doing.
Kate: What does this mean?
Bobby: This, meaning whatever we decide.
Bobby: Is that what they call a pregnant pause?
Kate: I know, but it’s just that every time I try to to make a decision, I don’t make a decision. I don’t know why.
Bobby: Would we be people with a kid, or parents?
Kate: What’s the difference?
Bobby: I know things change. Things change based on our decision.
Kate: What do you think we did wrong?
Bobby: Ethically or logistically?
Kate: You choose that one.
Kate: We’ll decide, and it’ll be a good decision.
Bobby: …Will it be the right decision?
If you liked this movie, try these: