THE BLACK STRING
Written by Brian Hanson and Richard Handley; Story by Andy Warner
Directed by Brian Hanson
The first thing that strikes you with THE BLACK STRING is the empathy Jonathan’s face demands. He’s a guy whose quiet suffering and pain bounces off the screen. From the first time you meet Jonathan (a very good Frankie Muniz), working a lonely shift at a – in his own defiant words to his parents– “Lifestyle convenience boutique” you’re with him.
He isolates himself from everyone around him (even ignores his Mum’s phone calls) until his crippling loneliness gets too much and he’s seduced by an ad for a ‘Singles Hotline’. What ensues then is what can only be described as a nightmarish descent into a hellish abyss that you hope to avoid.
From here on in, his life – funnily enough – takes on a life of its own. After meeting a mysterious woman, a grotesque scab-like thing emerges on his stomach area. Paranoia and a debilitating fear then reign supreme. Is he losing his mind or are events occurring outside the realms of comprehension and reality? Like in Darren Aronofsky’s (example) or Alan J Pakula’s (example) these two recurring questions make the film immensely watchable for its swift 90 minute running time.
It’s a lonely path Jonathan walks. His family and friends question his sanity and you can only watch - perplexed, pitiful, sorry. You are battered with the stark and harrowing imagery that poisons his soul, and consequently his life.
It’s an interesting exploration into madness and paranoia brilliantly brought to life by Muniz. He is physically unrecognisable at the end. Such is the power of the events and thoughts that engulf him.