Review: Uncertainty (2009)


Directed by: Scott McGehee & David Siegel
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lynn Collins, Assumpta Serna

Uncertainty is a strange film; a sometimes bland exercise in creativity that provides us with two separate narratives featuring the same couple, Bobby and Kate, as they iron out their impending plans for the Fourth of July. On one hand, we have a cat-and-mouse crime caper that spawns as a result of Bobby’s foolishness regarding what to do with a recovered cell phone. This folks, is known as the “Yellow” scenario. As for the alternate “Green” storyline, we follow the young couple as they venture to Kate’s family’s Brooklyn residence for a relatively run-of-the-mill summer get-together.

The moment things get underway, it becomes all too clear that Uncertainty sets out to be more of a technically impressive piece of filmmaking than anything else thanks to its above average cinematography. This isn’t meant to fully discredit the film as something more than that, it’s just the dual narrative structure doesn’t work as well as McGehee and Siegel probably hoped it would. In other words, it’s hard to tell if the film’s intentions reach beyond its title, that is, if it strictly coincides with Bobby and Kate’s underlying circumstances regarding themselves as a couple. Unfortunately, any semblance of valuable symbolism goes right out the window as the primary focus blindingly shifts back and forth between both scenarios, neither of which end up being as interesting as they should be until Bobby and Kate finally make their decision.

Uncertainty‘s saving grace lies within the performances of its two leads, both of whom are so immensely charming that a substantial amount of the film’s more glaring flaws become at least partially negligible. They play off of one another wonderfully, and at no point is there any fight for attention between the two. Chemistry aside, the actions their characters take throughout the film as a whole are also generally believable, especially during the moments spent with Kate’s family, thus bringing just a tinge of authenticity to the party to help distract us from the blander moments it has to offer.

While Uncertainty succeeds as an incredibly impressive technical achievement, the metaphor it embraces to illustrate Bobby and Kate’s dilemma often lacks the oomph it should possess to hold our attention throughout its slightly bloated run time. Thanks to the likes of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Lynn Collins, the mistakes made in dealing with the tricky dual narrative structure aren’t as grating as they could’ve been, and it’s at least easy to appreciate the creative risks the directors took in putting their ideas into production. In the end though, it’s safe to say that Uncertainty‘s uncanny sense of style surpasses most of what we’ve had the misfortune of seeing over the past few years.

Rating: 6/10


3 comments on “Review: Uncertainty (2009)

  1. It’s good to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt getting more and more screen time.

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