Metaffliction (2013) – By Misty Layne

An aspiring film director casts himself in the lead role of his movie and subsequently struggles to differentiate between reality and fiction. Funny + playful + weird student film from Australia. Anchored around the aftermath of a hit and run car accident, METAFFLICTION employs a unique multi-character narrative to examine the fine line between reality and fiction. Exploring themes such as decision and consequence, the overlap between friendship and romance and the struggles of realising creative ambition, METAFFLICTION is equal parts tragedy and comedy, simultaneously both poignant and buoyant. This is how Metaffliction bills itself and I have to say it is a most accurate depiction of the film, with the exception of this – the director isn’t the only one struggling to differentiate between reality and fiction.

We start with our protagonist waiting for a train with a crying girl. He reassures her that everything will be okay, kisses her on the head and leaves. Whilst on the train he overhears a hilarious conversation from a woman on the phone who has no regard for who might be listening in and observes a girl eating. This seems to please him. Once off the train, our guy ends up at what appears to be his best girl mate’s flat where she tells him she’s doing a film for her graduate project and asks him to be in it. What follows is a trip through scenes, black and white and then the rare color, that blurs the lines of reality and fiction to the point where I didn’t know what was the film within the film and what was not at times. Meta, indeed.

I adore the fact that the majority of this was shot in black and white. It suited the themes of the film so much better than color would have. Plus the distinction between the color and the black/white scenes helped a little with what was real and what was not. This is obviously a heavy talkie (anything with the word “meta” in the title kind of has to be, right?) which some people may not enjoy but I truly dig on. Excellent cinematography especially considering this was a student film and just enough imperfection in the film within the film to keep us from thinking there’s more there than what is.

Major kudos to Nathan Barillaro who wrote, directed and starred in the film. His portrayal of Anton is one of my favorite things about this film. The entire cast is strong and the chemistry therein equally strong. These people spout off to one another, back and forth, with little to no downtime and it’s never forced. It’s never acted. This is a case of reacting rather than wooden performances of acting and it’s a beauty to behold.

Smoke and mirrors the film may be but it’s fun, it causes one to think and it’s brilliant to behold. Fans of Charlie Kaufman will groove on this I think or fans of Trainspotting. Check out Metaffliction on IMDB and their Facebook page and watch as soon as you’re able. You won’t regret it.