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Uncertainty Film Review

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Alternative Tales Unfold Following Flip of a Coin on Brooklyn Bridge


Kate (Lynn Collins) and Bobby (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a carefree young couple living in NYC, are weighing their options about how to spend 4th of July as they walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. On the one hand, they could attend her tight-knit, Argentinian family's picnic, although that would probably involve dealing with pressure from her parents to settle down and get married. On the other hand, they could simply saunter into Manhattan for whatever serendipitous adventure might lay in wait.

The lovebirds impulsively agree to base their decision on a fateful flip of the coin, blissfully unaware of just how much is riding on its landing head versus tails. For, while the duty-bound barbecue will basically be an uneventful, if socially-awkward, annoyance, a day in the city will morph into a harrowing, never-ending nightmare.

Uncertainty Film

And how do we know this? Because Uncertainty is a bifurcated drama depicting exactly what will transpire, depending on which direction Kate and Bobby take off the bridge. The picture was co-written and co-directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, the same brains behind The Deep End (2001), an equally-compelling whodunit starring Tilda Swinton.

To make it easy for the audience to keep the two strands straight, one story features the protagonists wearing yellow and heading into Chinatown, the other, wearing green and going to Kate's folks' place in Brooklyn. There's no reason to reveal the details of the family picnic at all, because it essentially serves as mundane counterpoint to the riveting alternative.

Meanwhile, the plot of the former thickens right off the bat when they find a cell phone left behind on the seat of their taxicab by the previous passenger. The desperate owner calls to retrieve it, and Bobby unwittingly arranges a meeting in a nearby Chinese restaurant.

But the guy happens to have mob connections and is shot dead on the street just as he's approaching the place. Suddenly, instead of a leisurely lunch, Bobby and Kate find themselves on the run with a gangster in hot pursuit. Soon, they're hopelessly embroiled in a high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse with a shadowy figure offering as much as a half-million dollars for the phone when he's not threatening to kill them.

A brilliantly-conceived, well-executed, micro-budgeted, action-packed thriller which gives a whole new meaning to 4th of July fireworks.

Excellent (3.5 stars)
Unrated
Running time: 105 minutes
Studio: IFC Films

To see a trailer for Uncertainty, visit:
http://www.ifcfilms.com/videos/uncertainty-3

Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Contact him through NewsBlaze.

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