One of the things I have learned covering independent films is that you do not need a big budget to make something entertaining. Passion, creativity and a group of talented individuals is sometimes all it takes. A prime example of this is Sujewa Ekanayake’s Cosmic Disco Detective Rene and the Mystery of Immortal Time Travelers, a sequel to his wonderful The Secret Society for Slow Romance.
In Cosmic Disco Detective Rene, we catch up with the couple from the first film, Rene and Allyson. Rene is a detective who tunes into the music of the cosmos to help him solve his investigations. You can guess what that music sounds like from the title. Allyson realizes the freedoms she now has as a filmmaker and has a hard time deciding which project she should work on first, while helping Rene with his secret plan to make the world a better place for all. Rene is soon hired by Ithihasaya to investigate the possible presence of Immortal Time Travelers. He needs to determine if they are messing with our time line and if they pose a threat to the human race. And that is just for starters.
This is a delightfully fun and well written indie comedy that was as unpredictable as the first film. It is minimalistic filmmaking at its finest. Ekanayake gives us characters who are highly amusing thanks to the entire cast’s performance. Rene is played by Ekanayake with subtle charm and improved delivery from the first film. It always seemed like Rene was amused, regardless of the situation, thanks to the corner of his lips that curled into a subtle smile. The segments with Rene recording his audio notes are particularly funny because of the subjects he talks about. Even the scenes where it was just two people trading lines of dialog were charming. Alia Lorae returns as Allyson, my favorite character from the first movie as well as in this one. Many of her scenes reminded me of a poet at open mic night in a beatnik cafe. You learn alot about her while she records her own notes about which project she should work on, her relationship with Rene, and the state of things in general. Genoveva Rossi plays the role of Ithihasaya. You can tell she is having a lot of fun with the character. There is also a character named Chitrapati, a theater owner and film critic, who interviews Rene. This was a character I wanted to get to know more about thanks to the performance of Natalie Osborne.
Like the first film, the city of New York is also a character. There are a variety of shots of random locations that are interspersed between the scenes of dialog. Some are beautiful, static shots while others are more abstract, quick takes. Some shots are intentionally out of focus or unsteady. All help convey the energy New York City is known for while also serving as a unique creative expression of the director’s love for the town. He also plays with time, with some scenes being played in reverse. This is sometimes very evident and sometimes subtle. It is a simple yet effective way to sell the idea that there may be time travelers somewhere messing with things. The music adds to the energy and helps solidify the film’s identity. Above all else the vibe of the story is always upbeat. We do not see our happy couple have a fight or people’s lives being threatened. It is positively charming.
Cosmic Disco Detective Rene and the Mystery of Immortal Time Travelers is not going to be for everyone. It is an artsy film in all aspects, but this is not a negative. You can feel the honesty in the story and there are some truly laugh out loud moments, if you get what Sujewa is laying down. While it may leave mainstream audiences scratching their heads, for those seeking something entertaining, up beat and different, this one's for you, especially if you enjoyed the first film. Whoever said there is no creativity left in cinema isn’t looking in the right places.
I have been reviewing films since high school. I love discussing films with those who share my passion for them. I also do video reviews on YouTube and on my podcast.