Calgary International Film Festival 2013 - OXV: The Manual

Posted on Friday, September 27, 2013 at 12:00 AM

Review Type: Festival

OXV: The Manual

Reviewed by Anh Chu

In a school for geniuses and prodigies, a young, “low-frequency” Isaac Newton meets the “high frequency” Marie Curie. Their extreme polarity causes such disaster to occur if they come in contact, that they can only see one another for 60 seconds each year.

The universe conspires to give Marie what she wants – she is lucky beyond belief. The only downside? She has no feelings and is more robot than human. Zak on the other hand, is the unluckiest dude around and like everything else, is attracted to Marie.

We follow Zak and Marie throughout the years as Zak, along with his friend Theo, experiment with ways to prolong Zak and Marie's meetings. As their contact increases, so do the societal ramifications of Zak's discoveries, and we enter into conspiracy theory portion of the film.

A romantic comedy with a dose of philosophy and sci-fi, OXV: The Manual explores the questions of destiny and fate and offers more questions than it answers. Does knowledge determine destiny? Are humans simply soulless, complex machines? Is it all predictable?

An UK and Australian co-production, OXV: The Manual has characteristic British wit and surreal touches reminiscent of Michel Gondry. Although I was put off by the ambivalent and jarring ending, on the whole, Darren Paul Fisher's (writer/director) film is highly entertaining and you easily get wrapped up in the eccentric world. The acting is fantastic and this is the kind of film that merits post-show dialogue. You will likely leave thinking, no, probably mulling over not only the film itself, but life's existential questions as well.

Reviewed at the Calgary International Film Festival 2013. (Repeat screening is on Saturday, September 28, 2013 11:30AM @ Globe Theatre)

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