I first covered director Suki Singh’s drama “Emulsion” way back in the year that was 2010. The trailer for the flick was simply incredible, and it managed to stick with me over the years. Despite stuffing my brain with clips and previews from around the world on a daily basis, I often wondered what in the hell happened to Singh’s flick. Thankfully, the director has been hard at work putting the final pieces together. Not surprisingly, the experience was well worth the wait.
Simply put, “Emulsion” is a jaw-droppingly gorgeous film. The entire film is visually arresting, with rich colors and deep shadows decorating every single frame. There’s never a moment when something colorful isn’t distracting you from the story. Even when things are gritty, there’s so much detail in the grime that you’ll forgive the film’s deliberate pacing. It’s ridiculous how beautiful it is. High definition was made for stuff like this.
I’ll do my best to describe the plot without giving too much away in the process. The flick tells the story of a young man named Ronny Maze who is obsessed with finding his missing wife. During a very strange visit to an underground parking garage, Isabella mysteriously vanishes from their car without a trace. Ronny’s dedication to locating his wife prompts him to take a job at the garage in hopes that the answers about her disappearance will be revealed. Unfortunately for Ronny and his sanity, the truth may be very hard to handle.
“Emulsion” recalls the very best elements from David Lynch’s late-80s and early-90s output. The whole movie is one very elaborate puzzle, and all of the pieces are there if you know where to look. Chances are you’ll be able to spot all of the little hints sprinkled throughout during your second viewing. And while the director takes his time unraveling the tale, the pace works incredibly well with the tone of the story. Had Singh and company been in a hurry to get to the big reveal, nothing about the experience would have gelled.
In addition to being one of the most visually striking indie films I’ve ever encountered, “Emulsion” also sports a handful of extremely impressive performances. Although everyone involved does fine work, the movie rests comfortably on the capable shoulders of star Sam Heughan. He embodies the character of Ronny with the sort of emotional depth required for us to care about his unusual plight. When you’re dealing with a movie that unfolds more like a fever dream than a traditional narrative, it’s always nice to have a character that grounds the plot. You can tell there’s something bubbling beneath the surface as soon as Ronny is introduced, which is a testament to Heughan’s skills. It’s a pleasure to watch him work.
When you spend as much time with indie films as I do, it’s always deeply refreshing when a film comes along that makes digging through the waste worthwhile. Writer/director Suki Singh’s richly photographed and genuinely satisfying mystery is sure to be a hit with those who enjoy cinema that’s a little left of center. The style and pacing might put some viewers off, but those who enjoy investing in characters that live in dream-like worlds will find much to love. Damn-near flawless on every conceivable level, “Emulsion” is everything I look for in an indie drama.
Suki Singh (director) / Suki Singh (screenplay)
CAST: Sam Heughan … Ronny Maze
Claudia Bassols … Isabella Maze
Lex Shrapnel … Billy Patterson
David Ajala … Jeff
Mem Ferda … Egor