Scott McGehee and David Siegel, the directing team that brought us The Deep End, and Bee Season, have come together once again to create a strange, but compelling piece starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Lynn Collins. Uncertainty is their third directing credit and certainly their most bizarre, with a narrative that is neither linear, nor easily understood.
The film begins with a young couple, Bobby (Gordon-Levitt) and Kate (Collins) standing on a bridge in New York, apparently trying to decide what to do on this particular July 4th. They leave it up to the flip of a coin which tears the film into two separate plots, green, and yellow. In one, the two find a cell phone in the back of a cab that apparently contains information worth hundreds of thousands, entering the two into a fast-paced world of blackmail, assassinations and lots of running around New York. In the second, the couple are coming to terms with Kate’s unplanned pregnancy and trying to find a place among Kate’s intrusive family.
The pacing of these two plots vastly differ from one another. At times, when one plot line is interrupted to update you on the other, it feels like an unwelcomed commercial break. But where McGehee and Siegel really succeeded was making both stories compelling Sure, there are slow moments, a few problems with pacing, but being able to force the viewer to care about the characters in both versions of reality, that’s a remarkable feat. It seems these directors clearly achieved what they were attempting. A clear consequence of this unorthodox storytelling will be its lack of mass appeal. The film’s two final scenes (wrapping up both plots) do little to conclude and resolve any of the ensuing conflicts and will turn many off. The film’s cinematography is one of its best assets, providing a visceral and thrilling portrayal of New York City. This is thanks to cinematographer Rain Li (credited as Kathy Li) who also brought us the fantastically framed Paranoid Park. Uncertainty is definitely off the beaten path and is worth checking out despite its inherent flaws.