Spoilers want to be woken up when it’s over.
Okey, this one’s going to need you to be in the mood to reflect and meditate a bit. You might want to watch this with a strong cup of coffee. There is a light plot and a thread to follow, but it doesn’t really have a story or a problem to solve. A mystery is afoot but there’s no urgency which also should betray the very style of ending that I particularly dread. Sound is the medium here.
TOPOLOGY OF SIRENS (2022) was written and directed by Jonathan Davies. Cas (Courtney Stephens) has just moved into her aunt’s old home. As she settles in, she will find a strange instrument with a compartment full of microcassette tapes. Each tape is marked with a symbol and contains sounds that will lead Cas to look up where they are from. Her only motive is her curiosity, which never feels like intrigue. It’s almost like she’s bored and needs something to do, a boredom that seeps into the film.
This sounds enticing in paper, like we’re on the hook for mystery or at least some adventure. There’s not much of either unfortunately. Cas will go down the rabbit hole with the instrument, the tapes and the stories of her aunt but don’t expect any big reveals. Each apparent “mystery” just leads her to discover another location with a marker where she can explore without necessarily discovering or solving anything. References have been made to point-and-click adventures with symbols repeating over locations, but they never get to a satisfying conclusion. The execution is so quiet that labelling it a drama would be a misnomer.
Maybe recommended for audiophiles or background watching. There is no problem to solve or obstacle to overcome. The plot is thin and the characters never seem interested in moving forward. As it has been pointed out by its description, it emulates old school point-and-click adventures but unlike them there doesn’t seem to be a satisfying reward to discover the next prize in this slow scavenger crawl. Not worth a watch unless you’re in a very passive and contemplative mood and want something to watch in the background.
That will do for now.