Film Review – The Death and Life of Otto Bloom (2016)

Title – The Death and Life of Otto Bloom (2016)

Director – Cris Jones (feature debut)

Cast – Xavier Samuel, Rachel Ward, Matilda Brown, Rose Riley, Terry Camilleri

Plot – Otto Bloom (Samuel) experiences time in reverse making his love with Ada (Ward and Brown) a tricky proposition as the world famous figure remembers only his future, not the past.

“What I thought of as his future was actually his past”

Review by Eddie on 01/11/2017

Credit where credit is due, small-budget Australian backed and made faux-doc The Death and Life of Otto Bloom largely overcomes its minuscule finances to deliver a unique and ambitious local offering that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense but offers up an engaging experience for its audience nonetheless.

With a high concept story at its core of Xavier Samuel’s mysterious Otto Bloom, who seemingly experiences life in reverse (so his past is the future and future the past) told in a documentary talking heads like manner that allows director Cris Jones to overcome budget restraints in an efficient manner, Bloom’s story shouldn’t be delved into too deeply by anyone but it allows Jones a chance to tell a love story with a difference and showcase a talent that we will hopefully see grow in the local industry in future projects.

Fake documentaries aren’t easy to pull off, especially in a day and age where so many quality documentaries are flooding the marketplace, so for Jones to succeed to the extent he does by making Bloom feel like a real event, is quite the feat that harbors some impressive DIY techniques and film trickery.

It’s not to say Bloom isn’t without its fair share of moments that don’t work (in particular a segment where a sweaty Otto gives a special talk to a packed auditorium) but there’s a lot of moments that do work and with committed turns from leading man Samuel and then Rachel Ward and Matilda Brown as Bloom’s love interest Ada, Bloom’s vision of its goal to craft an original and non-linear story is one to be admired, even if the films reach does escape Jones’s grasp.

Final Say –

Head into The Death and Life of Otto Bloom with an open mind and a forgiving critical outlook and you’ll be rewarded with a well-intentioned and highly ambitious local production that suggests Jones is a filmmaker to keep a very close eye on and while the story might not make a whole lot of sense at the end of the day, which is to be expected with any such narrative, The Death and Life of Otto Bloom is one of our countries most commendable productions in recent times.

3 Burt Reynolds photos out of 5           

4 responses to “Film Review – The Death and Life of Otto Bloom (2016)

  1. I saw The Life and Death of Otto Bloom at the Cleveland International Film Festival this year. It was a part of their New Directors competition. It was an ambitious first film and definitely earned my respect. Unfortunately, the director wasn’t able to come to the showing.

  2. Great review Eddie. I thoroughly enjoyed this one too. As I note in my own review “The tantalising inscrutability of time continues to fascinate filmmakers and audiences alike. If cinematic conceits like time travel and time inversion are nonsense for you, do not bother with this film. But if you enjoy being teased with possible new ways of looking at time, this film will certainly do it”.

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