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An intriguing descent into a mythical hellscape of uncanny surroundings and other-worldly games of chance.
Suit and Bone’s opening exposition tells us of the rules of its world, speaking of a coin which grants safe passage to the travelling dead. It also hints to something greater than mere safe passage which will tempt those who seek something beyond death.
A man approaches a mansion in the middle of a barren wasteland of fire and debris. The sun appears too bright, synthetically so, as its flares light up his world in flashes. Embers and ashes fill the air, and crows perch threateningly on branches. Entering the building, he slips a card up his sleeve, hinting at his intentions to find that something greater. Ascending a tall spiral staircase shot from below, voices and whispers populate the space of spirits and present a foreboding threat.
The palatial rooms he now finds himself in have a futuristic, yet regency feel. The harsh outdoor environment is contrasted by clean interiors and extravagant decadence. The blocking is neat and the use of mirrors is particularly clever in drawing him and Fate together despite their distance in the room. The fire in the hearth matches the fire in the distant sky outside, creating a washed-out, ethereal look to the room itself. Presenting Fate with offerings of riches, he is angry to see all he has received in return is a coin, and instead wishes to gamble for something more valuable than a peaceful death.
The space then shifts as if by magic to a more intimate setting. Both the man and Fate are sat on the floor facing each other, the flickers of fire against her face providing a warmer feel than the harsh whites of the first room. She introduces a deck of cards, seemingly somewhere between playing cards and tarot, which will determine the man’s fate. Flashes of a third location then appear, showing the man in a more grounded environment, set closer to, if not in, the real world. As his fate is decided, his shouts echo through each layer we have seen, showing they are all occurring at once.
The film then closes with musings similar to its opening, bookending its fantastical philosophies of fate and free will. Its descriptions are just ambiguous and absorbing enough to leave me with a feeling of incompleteness, wishing to explore its ideas more and immerse myself further in its world.