'Diminuendo' is the sci-fi film that will touch your soul when you least expect it
'Diminuendo' features Richard Hatch as Haskell Edwards, a has-been film director who is on the brink of rock bottom.
Adrian Stewart, Sarah Goldberger and Bryn Pryor's brainchild 'Diminuendo' is the sci-fi-movie that will ironically jerk you awake to a potential reality in the not-so-distant future. The film, which was screened at the prestigious Indy Film Fest at Newfields and the Dances With Film Fest this year, is set in 2025 and explores the evergreen topics of love, loss, addiction, obsession, and redemption.
The film has 'Battlestar: Galactica' star Richard Hatch playing the leading man Haskell Edwards; his last film before succumbing to pancreatic cancer in February 2017. Haskell is a tarnished, has-been film director, whose spiral towards his rock bottom has been accelerated by drugs and alcohol, both of which he has been addicted to, since the suicide of his girlfriend, Cello Shea (Chloe Dykstra) nine years prior to us meeting him.
An unemployed and struggling Haskell sees the opportunity of directing a movie about his late lover as a welcome project. However, what he does not expect, is to fall for the "life doll" playing Cello. Seeing as it is the year 2025 and Haskell's movie is being produced by a cutting-edge tech company, that manufacture lifelike robots, the leading actress is of course played by a LifeDoll, called Number 8.
Number 8, built with painstaking precision, looks like an identical twin of Haskell's ex, which becomes too eerie for him to handle. His obsession with the life doll that resembles the woman he loved is what the movie focuses on. Unfortunately for him, the Cello replica is just that – a replica, an empty shell of a human(ish) suit that does not understand or reason. More importantly. this Cello robot does not have a trace of her soul, that Haskell so desperately craves to feel.
While on the surface, this movie is a science fiction, at the heart of 'Diminuendo' is a wholesome story of love, loss, and loneliness. You can't help but fall in love with these characters and worry about them as well. By the second scene you are already empathizing with the man who uses the crutches of alcohol and drugs to cope with irreparable heartache and few scenes down, you find yourself aching for a robot that is incapable of understanding or experiencing his love for her.
And yet, this ambitious little indie project is so much more than a sci-fi thriller or a heartwarming tale about love. In fact, at every point that you think you have figured this movie out, you are surprised by the turn of events. As you peel away the different layers of the film, you also see the different layers of Haskell and those around him. The story and plot are definitely two of the stars of the movie, however, the man whose performance outranks everyone and everything else in the film is Hatch.
In his heart-wrenching performance, you do see the sickness that was consuming him at the time, permeating through him as he played a character who is defined by his exhausting, yet unwavering heartache and loss. Only a thoroughbred actor like Hatch can take something so painful and turn into the highest form of art.
Dykstra's performance stands out in 'Diminuendo,' despite the commanding shrinkage of Hatch. In fact, her talent should be celebrated purely for the fact that the nuances she created for her two characters – human Cello and robot Cello. The emotional depth that she brings to her characters - even the one lacking in emotion - adds weightage to the words of Sarah Goldberger and Bryn Pryor.
By no means is 'Diminuendo' perfect, though. With its interrupting flashbacks and constant inter-cutting of scenes, one oftentimes finds it taxing to follow the story. Stewart seems to have made a clear choice of making you feel as hazed and confused as the protagonist of his story. How far he is successful in doing that and yet capturing the attention of the viewers, is a question each viewer has to answer for themselves.
More than anything else, 'Diminuendo' is the perfect movie for Hatch's fans who want to take one last cinematic journey with him. There are brilliant surprises throughout this little film that could appeal to you and you will be glad to glad to have given this a go if you do end up watching it.