Empire (Australasia) - - ON SCREEN - EL­IZ­A­BETH BEST

DI­REC­TOR Corey Pear­son

CAST Jes­sica Falkholt, Ea­mon Far­ren, Jerome Meyer, Jac­que­line Mcken­zie

PLOT Har­mony (Falkholt) has the abil­ity to take away peo­ple’s fear by ab­sorb­ing it, at great cost to her health. She lives a soli­tary ex­is­tence un­til she meets Ma­son (Meyer), who pro­vides a strange bal­ance as the world be­gins to seethe with neg­a­tiv­ity and fear, per­son­i­fied in vil­lain Jimmy (Far­ren). WHAT WAS SLATED to be ac­tress Jes­sica Falkholt’s big break has trag­i­cally be­come her fi­nal film, fol­low­ing a hor­ror car ac­ci­dent that claimed her life as well as the lives of her sis­ter and par­ents on Box­ing Day in 2017.

It is then a rather bit­ter­sweet ex­pe­ri­ence watch­ing her pow­er­ful per­for­mance as Har­mony, a re­luc­tant su­per­hero type who can take on oth­ers’ fears as her own by touch, leav­ing them at peace but her­self in ru­ins. The film has been ded­i­cated to Falkholt and her fam­ily in a touch­ing post­script, which seems only fit­ting as she re­ally is the heart and soul of Har­mony: The Five Fre­quen­cies Part One.

It’s an in­ter­est­ing uni­verse that writer-di­rec­tor Corey Pear­son has cre­ated and one the world sorely needs right now, in a time when em­pa­thy feels like it’s at an all-time low. To have a hero driven by emo­tional mo­tives of lit­er­ally feel­ing oth­ers’ pain in or­der to free them from it is a fas­ci­nat­ing con­cept. She’s the phys­i­cal em­bod­i­ment of the say­ing “a bur­den shared is a bur­den halved”.

As Har­mony takes on the pain, she weak­ens and is only re­stored to health once she drenches her­self in wa­ter, the fear drain­ing off her in the form of vis­cous black sludge. Hav­ing the au­di­ence be­ing able to vi­su­alise this neg­a­tiv­ity in such a tan­gi­ble form is a great way of il­lus­trat­ing how strongly emo­tions can fig­u­ra­tively blacken our in­sides.

It could (and should) pro­mote dis­cus­sion among au­di­ences about the metaphor­i­cal power of as­sist­ing oth­ers in deal­ing with their pain, as well as the im­por­tance of self care. If Har­mony doesn’t look af­ter her­self post fear re­moval, she could be over­whelmed with neg­a­tiv­ity and die.

Ma­son (Jerome Meyer) bal­ances her out nicely, as he is meant to do as the em­bod­i­ment of love. Though they don’t im­me­di­ately know they need each other, they must join to­gether to fight off fear it­self, who man­i­fests it­self in Jimmy (the al­ways en­gag­ing Ea­mon Far­ron).

The only real short­com­ing, if you can even call it that, is Har­mony leaves you want­ing more. Early on we’re told there were more chil­dren born when Har­mony was, un­der sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances, al­lud­ing to them also hav­ing abil­i­ties. But there’s not enough time to ex­plore that in a 90 minute film, leav­ing just the main sto­ry­line.

This cre­ates a thirst to know more of the ideals of bal­anc­ing el­e­ments such as love vs. fear per­son­i­fied; more ex­pla­na­tion of the bleak uni­verse in which these pow­er­ful peo­ple ex­ist; and more about the con­se­quences of de­stroy­ing them, or split­ting them up, cre­at­ing a uni­ver­sal emo­tional im­bal­ance. You know, kind of like the world it feels like we’re slip­ping into now thanks to the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion and the phi­los­o­phy of ev­ery­thing be­ing all black or all white, with no grey ar­eas.

One can’t help but feel like these en­gag­ing themes would ben­e­fit enor­mously from a TV se­ries where all five el­e­ments al­luded to in Har­mony and the rest of the en­gag­ing and promis­ing saga can be ex­plored thor­oughly.

VER­DICT A gritty, emo­tional twist on the su­per­hero genre that leaves the viewer want­ing to know more about this fas­ci­nat­ing uni­verse. Bring on a se­quel… or even a tele­vi­sion se­ries?

The rug re­ally tied the room to­gether.

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