"Incompleteness" tags itself as a series, a first episode acting as a springboard for what's to come. That's great and all, but Dave Ash's pilot is more like a film - especially when you factor in the near two-hour length of the episode. At the best of times, two hours can be a tough watch - but Ash's film also happens to be a bit confusing, making those couple hours really seem stretched out - but I'll get into that below.
This film, I'm just going to call it a film from now on, focuses on the lives of three couples. Well, that's not entirely accurate as some of these couples are not couples at the start of the movie, but I'm not going to split hairs. Covering Alex is where this film starts - and he's seemingly living the dream and making a movie. We quickly learn that the "dream" isn't all its cracked up to be and after learning he has cancer, Alex quits his job to make his film. He's also making a documentary of sorts for his unborn child, all while battling severe depression. The scriptwriter, Paul, is battling his own demons. He's a socially awkward individual who when the film starts, has almost cracked the immortality conundrum - and once he perfects his genome algorithm, death and sickness could be a thing of the past. But there's more, you see reader, he's recently taken his research and left an underground Chinese biotech company - and they want his algorithm back or else they're coming for him... and not in a cake and coffee kind of way. The screenplay Paul is providing is his way of fulfilling a childhood dream. So many of us can definitely relate. We also have the story of two actors who are ridiculously weird together, and yet they are trying to make a go of a relationship. The scenes of these two are both a little creepy and a little funny.
So, these are the main players in this film but it's all not as cut and dried as you may think. "Incompleteness" bounces around a lot and like some of the hypothetical theories and questions posed by some of the characters, we also get a bunch of what-if scenarios acted out. At least, that was my take on things. We get to see entire possible relationships played out onscreen between characters. Or maybe, we're seeing the real deal playing out, and then going back to the present time and continuing the story. Does any of that sound confusing? It is, and it was. "Incompleteness" deals with some deeply complex ideas - and mixes them with deeply complex emotions. These concepts of destiny and free will, mixed with the way the film bounces around, create quite a confusing movie at times. Thankfully, the heart of the film still manages to come through loud and clear. This is a movie about self-worth, regret, wasted time, and yes reader... depression. Truthfully? Even if you find yourself a little confused during the film, "Incompleteness" still manages to keep the overall themes evident - and because of that, and some solid acting, I felt this was still a pretty good movie.
So, when it comes to the technicalities of this film, I don't have a whole lot to say. It looks and sounds good, and the acting is refreshingly great. The characters of "Incompleteness" come across as regular, damaged people - and I believe that was the point. Nobody is the perfect person and everyone has their demons. The portrayal of these people reflects that one hundred percent. I could go off with what I liked about each individual character but the truth is that everyone did a fantastic job. I'm not trying to create an hour-long read, so a thumbs up broad-stroke to the cast will have to do.
Speaking of time, let me get back to that one issue I had with this film. The length. Normally, I go on the, "If it's not needed or been repeated edit it out" rant. In the case of this film however, I'm not really sure that would be the right thing to say. There's no question this film seems a little long, and that some confusing elements make it seem longer - but perhaps the answer would be to break things up, not cut it shorter. By that I mean instead of having one super-long episode, why not break it into two shorter ones? "Incompleteness" is labeled a series, so why not treat it like one? Splitting up this episode would allow the viewers a break, possibly solving the overly lengthy issue. I'm just spit-balling here and it's important to keep in mind my opinion is just that. One person's opinion.
To wrap things up let me just write that this is a project that manages to really get you thinking. That "thinking" aspect serves as both the good and bad of this flick. I've watched a lot of confusing movies over the years, and although the happenings of "Incompleteness" mostly sorted themselves out, some story threads were definitely harder to follow than I would have liked. There are some pretty deep concepts at play here, even if they just happen to come up in the conversations of the characters. With that said, the way the characters are handled, the way their emotional states are captured, keeps "Incompleteness" going strong even if you don't exactly know what is happening at the time it's being shown. This is a deeply conceptual film, but also a blatantly real one. Three and a half stars.