Directed by Billy Blioumis | Reviewed by Sabarno Sinha
Watching the first episode of The Paradox was indeed a nail-biting experience, firstly due to its genre, i.e., science-fiction thriller as well as the unique involvement of children and how the plot weaves around the child of an average firefighter. Kosta’s town suddenly experiences strange disappearances of children and as a firefighter, he gets to hear very weird accounts of incidents happening in the city. Unfortunately, by the end of the pilot episode, his own child, Konstantine becomes the victim of this mysterious phenomenon that has been occurring in the town. The film begins without any transition which is certainly off-putting but my biggest complaint in the opening sequence is the relevance of the cold open, which the directors have opted and as is usually common in television series. Upon watching it for the first time, it did not make much sense to me as to what the men were doing in space and what had they found so haunting. The message becomes clearer as the story progresses but then, the cold open is completely forgotten. Instead of hinting about the source of the mystery before showing its manifestations in the town (disappearances), it would perhaps be better if the cold open dealt with the Kosta’s family for the pilot episode. As of now, it serves no purpose, according to me. The background score of this episode has been very well made and they accentuate and highlight the moods of the characters very effectively. This is also true of the sound editing and foley effects which have also been done well in my opinion. Climbing the stairs, running, driving- placing such sound effects correctly is indeed a work of art and this has been done quite well by the sound team. The visual effects in this pilot were also quite good and could be hardly understood as computer-generated such as the burn on Persefoni’s hand. Even the effect used to make the child fly away looked rather believable to me. The editing has also been quite good but in some places, the cuts have been too starkly visible such as when Kosta leaves the child with Persefoni for the first time in the episode (5:10). I would have preferred these cuts not be so noticeable. But, while the crew of the post-production have tried their best, there are certain grave errors that were made by the cinematographers that cannot be ignored easily. Largely, very traditional shot types have been chosen for the pilot due to which the overall effect of the scene is quite bland. In between such shots, some of the more artful ones have been used which has created a very jarring sequence overall. An example of this would be when Persifone and Kosta talk about the child right before he disappears. The low-angle long shot suddenly changes into a deep-focus close up of Kosta with Persifone on the side. This shot looks out-of-place and looks forcefully artistic in this context. However, there are other innovative shots in the episode that I really enjoyed: two memorable ones being the long shot wherein the camera moves across the fence and captures Persifone running and the one in which the camera shifts from her and goes into the car which almost crashes into Kosta and then captures the helpless father looking for his child. Both of these are brilliant specimens of cinematographic innovation in this 32-minute sequence and I really enjoyed both of them. However, right after the former of the two mentioned, the camera tracks her from the back for most of the time. This is redundant and also overused and I was, therefore, a bit surprised after watching a fine and unique shot. The plot of the story is gripping and I have nothing but praise for the plot which develops in a very nuanced way in this pilot episode. The characters of Persifone and Kosta have been established very well in the first episode and I can already imagine that both will become quite important in the plot of the series. The actors of both the characters have performed quite well. One can only wonder what natural or supernatural force is causing the mysterious events of the story and I, for one, am excited to know what happens next.
Sabarno Sinha is an undergraduate student of English at Jadavpur University, Kolkata. He was active in the debating and MUN circuit in Kolkata. Sabarno frequently writes short stories, poems and screenplays for short films. A lover of world cinema, Sabarno finds pleasure in watching contemporary as well as classic films from Japan, Italy and Germany among others.