Walking along on the Brooklyn Bridge one 4th of July, the two wonder where to go and what to do on this special day. So they flip a coin, and then race off in opposite directions to experience two completely different stories – reuniting along the way and experiencing events that will dramatically impact their lives.
Kate runs over to Brooklyn towards a tender family drama, emotional and lyrical, and Bobby races off into Manhattan to hit a thriller plot, fast and ferocious.
In each scenario, at the start of their journey, the couple finds something that guides the plot. In Manhattan, it is a cell phone that challenges the couple’s moral standards and addresses issues like greed and ruthlessness. In Brooklyn the couple picks up a stray dog, and themes like responsibility and care are discussed. And both times, each episode closes with a gentle happy ending; back on a bridge, the Manhattan couple finally gets rid of the tainted cell phone and returns to the true values of a relationship: love and compassion. The Brooklyn pair fully embraces their responsibilities as parents-to-be.
As the title suggests, UNCERTANTY leaves room for the audience to imagine. One may wonder if the film was one continuous story, rather than two parallel time lines. Maybe the Manhattan story preceded the Brooklyn one, and the bond between the Brooklyn couple was only possible because they lived through the Manhattan adventure?
Written, produced, and directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel (the team behind DEEP END BEE SEASON), UNCERTAINTY was, according to the press book, an “in-between- project” the two filmmakers developed and produced while waiting to finance a higher budget feature. All dialogue in the film was improvised and developed together with the actors during a month-long rehearsal period – a great opportunity for the actors and directors to get to know and be comfortable with each other.
Following two parallel stories works well, as the editing allows for breathing space when switching between episodes. Plus the distinct color coding (green for Brooklyn and yellow for Manhattan plot) also helps to orient and focus on either episode. Told over the course of 24 hours and beautifully photographed by Rain Li, there are plenty of beauty shots—not only of the cast, but also of the city of New York, any time of the day.
UNCERTAINTY offers a conceptually compelling plot, however I wonder if each narrative by itself would hold as much attention as the two segmented stories combined?
The film premiered at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, screened at this year’s Hamptons International Film Festival, and was theatrically released on November 13 by IFC.