We all think to be decent people, but what if we had incredible power in our hands like the protagonists of this 2018 movie, Parallel?
The story begins with a disappointment for these four friends, Devin, Leena, Josh, and Noel, programmers working on a mobile app to find or rent parking spaces around town.
Indeed, their employer drastically reduced the deadline to deliver the project after a former colleague, Seth, betrayed them when they kicked him out of the group.
Not knowing what to do, these friends decide to spend one last cheerful evening together before parting ways and going to party in the city.
Once back home, however, some old grudges and stupid rivalries emerge, so they start fighting and unintentionally smash a wall.
To their amazement, they notice that the crack reveals a passage to a hidden room, a dungeon locked for years with a system to monitor every room in the house.
However, there is also something else in this room, a mirror attached firmly to the floor through which they can physically pass.
Once on the other side, they realize that time passes much more slowly, and a few minutes become hours.
Even more shocking, the world they find beyond the mirror, with each passage, is every time an alternate universe to their own, with some small but significant differences.
So they begin to steal small amounts from their many selves, quickly accumulating wealth and succeeding in completing the project on schedule, taking advantage of the time difference between these dimensions.
Unfortunately, they become increasingly greedy, copying scientific and artistic projects from other worlds and selling them off as their ideas to become famous.
Very soon, the line between morality and ethics among these friends begins to disappear, becoming increasingly unpredictable and dangerous.
The sinister edge of success
In the hands of Isaac Ezban, Scott Blaszak‘s screenplay unfolds very effectively, albeit with a few shadows that did not entirely convince me.
The director succeeds in developing the characters and plots with more than enough craft, creating an engaging cinematic experience early on.
Quickly and with efficiency, they introduce and characterize the four main boys, allowing the viewer to immediately become immersed in their interpersonal dynamics, which, while simple, come across as genuine and exciting.
The harmony among these personalities breaks down as the group becomes increasingly successful, highlighting the different aspirations and individual egos of each.
While the lust for money drives some, others seek personal success and settle unresolved past dramas.
However, they can’t change the past, and achieving success without merit brings no gratification, especially in the field of art.
More harm still brings the desire to change the world’s destiny by showing ambition and determination, even if it means killing or deceiving.
Speaking of some less convincing aspects, the plot sometimes seems overly complex, almost outsized compared to its potential.
It probably would have worked even better if the story had remained focused on the house and the protagonists’ affairs.
Moreover, the pace feels too fast sometimes, with events that follow one another quickly and leave no time to assimilate enough before moving on to even more happenings.
Despite these flaws, although more than acceptable in general, Parallel remains a highly intriguing movie that the public too underrated and ignored upon its release in 2018.
Who knows, in one of the many parallel worlds, these little problems in the movie are not there; but probably the alternate version of myself will be complaining while writing something else.
We human beings, sadly, can never find absolute satisfaction.
The many versions of four friends
Another fine point about this story is how director Isaac Ezban and screenwriter Scott Blaszak balance the importance and screen time of the various characters.
I literally cannot think of an absolute dominant protagonist, as they all have their part, which consistently develops and conclude.
We would start with the most positive character of the group, Devin, played by Aml Ameen, who is the one who poses the most moral issues to using the interdimensional mirror.
These doubts come from his father figure, who was arrested and publicly humiliated to the point of suicide, unable to accept the consequences of his actions.
Therefore, Devin greatly fears the consequences of the increasingly frequent travels of his friends, especially the ambitious Noel, who can’t seem never to get enough success and money.
Played by Martin Wallström, this guy is the exact opposite of Devin, and his arrogance and cruelty reach unthinkable limits in the second half of the story.
Again, the fantastic negative transformation of this character is too quick, with far more twists and turns one after the other, all good ideas but too consecutive when they could be more slowly explainable.
Similar in evolution but very different in conclusion is instead Georgia King, playing the young artist Leena who is also Devin’s partner.
By stealing paintings and ideas from the other universes, she becomes a celebrated and respected painter but, unfortunately, must give up her own style that would not be as successful.
Even worse torn apart is Mark O’Brien‘s character, the unluckiest Josh, who will end up being replaced by one of his dimensional clones for reasons I do not want to spoil.
As I said before, Parallel is certainly not a perfect movie, but it deserves to be better distributed and advertised in 2018.