THREE AND A HALF STARS A journalist is working on her redemption at a remote country home. Then a mysterious brick is delivered to her doorstep.
THRILLER Australia English #MONOLITH
Starring Lily Sullivan
In a quite corner of Australia, a podcast journalist is holed up at her parent’s country home. They’re on holiday and she’s avoiding the public after her last story went off the rails: she said he did it, the courts say otherwise. Looking for a new story to get her career back on track, she comes across a yarn about an ‘alien brick’, a monolith that has special powers.
A little research convinces her there’s something to reveal and some more research convinces her this is the comeback: expose the crazies and redeem her reputation. Download figures go through the roof and everyone, notably her publisher, is happy again. Then she mysteriously receives a brick of her own.
Matt Vesely, working from a script by Lucy Campbell, crafts an intriguing, often gripping yarn that recalls Tom Hardy’s LOCKE by way of a minor BLACK MIRROR. Lily Sullivan’s journalist is the only character on screen with others, quite literally, phoning in their performance. The effect is exceedingly claustrophobic, perfect for the material, emphasised by the austere design of the remote house in which the entire film takes place. The misty landscape seen through the large panel windows is a brooding presence and on rare occasions when she steps outside for a ciggie break, you can almost taste the fresh air as is it washes through the house. But it’s also where danger is lurking.
Despite the occasional gear slip as Campbell's narrative swings from the film you think it is to the one it actually becomes, there’s always quite a lot to like about MONOLITH. Set design, score, cinematography and performance work coherently to deliver a compelling tale that may not have so much to say about our digital life as inferred from the setup, but by film's end does have a lot to say about self-deception and the dangers of digital dependency.
All we have to do is listen implores the journalist. Wise words.