TL;DR – A delightful romp through a world where coincidence can be bought and manipulated.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid and post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid to watch this film
The Portable Door Review –
Few things get me into the cinema as quickly as ‘made by The Jim Henson Company’. No matter what they are involved in, you know it will be fascinating to watch. But add in some lovely Magical Realism and a cast of zany characters, and you have a must-watch.
So to set the scene, Paul Carpenter (Patrick Gibson) is down on his luck and trying to find a job to pay the bills before he gets kicked out of his flat. All he has to do is get to the café. What could go wrong? Well, everything, apparently. Both shoelaces might break, the trousers might have a stain, and a dog might run off with your scarf. But what if, coincidentally, running after the dog, you find a small door for applicants, and what if you find yourself in the company JW Wells and Co that is expecting you even though you never applied for something? But what if, in that interview, you notice that the cracks in the wall remarkably resemble a map of London? You might find yourself employed by a company that believes that coincidence can be manipulated and controlled.
The first thing you notice with The Portable Door is just how much of a mood it is. The editing helps reinforce how off-kilter everything is, even before you suspect something else is a play. It plays almost like a roller coaster, and you are just along for the ride. This buy-in right from the start is essential because the film will go through three distinct tone shifts during its runtime, and you kind of need everyone onboard to along with that. All of this is supported by a musical score that blasts across the screen and underlines the fun romp and a visual style that is always fascinating to watch.
To add to this is the setting of the world that is wacky and wonderful. The production design created a work that feels both modern but also something out of the 1960s and 1990s combined. You will see rows of dot matrix printers, VCR welcome messages, but then also post-modern designed entrances and old-world business boardrooms. These conflicting designs should clash, but instead, they add to the mystery and make it feel like an old building that has expanded and taken on new forms, making it oddly familiar to a building I have been in before. However, that may also be from the movie being filmed in Brisbane, which added a certain surrealness to the proceedings.
Once you have a setting, you need to fill it with interesting characters; this is where the film excels. Patrick Gibson is a delight and works very well as the audience insert character and is full of wonder at the world he is discovering. Then we have Sam Neill, who chews every bit of scenery as he dominates the screen. Sophie Wilde provides an excellent counterpoint to Patrick Gibson’s energy and grounds the narrative, which the film needs. You then add Christoph Waltz, Miranda Otto, Rachel House, Chris Pang, and Jessica De Gouw in supporting roles that build the quirky nature of the film and bring joy every time they are on screen.
In the end, do we recommend The Portable Door? Yes, yes, we do. I was onboard right from the start as it rockets across the screen. More than that, I finished the film with a smile of delight from ear to ear. If you liked The Portable Door, I would recommend to you Luca.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Portable Door
Directed by – Jeffrey Walker
Screenplay by – Leon Ford
Based on – The Portable Door by Tom Holt
Music by – Benjamin Speed
Cinematography by –
Edited by – Geoff Lamb
Production/Distribution Companies – The Jim Henson Company, Story Bridge Films, Madman Films, Sky Cinema, MGM+ & Stan
Starring – Patrick Gibson, Sophie Wilde, Sam Neill, Christoph Waltz, Christoph Waltz, Miranda Otto, Rachel House, Chris Pang, Jessica De Gouw, Damon Herriman, Mezi Atwood, Christopher Sommers, Jason Wilder, Lin Yin, Diana Lin & Arka Das
Rating – Australia: PG;