Director: Corey Pearson
Screenwriter: Corey Pearson
Runtime: 90 mins.
Australian release date: 4 October 2018
Previewed at: Sony Pictures Theatrette, Sydney, on 21 September 2018.
Harmony is the first chapter of a planned series of films collectively called The Five Frequencies Saga but with the tragic death of Jessica Falkholt, the movie’s eponymous lead who, one suspects, would have had a recurring role in the subsequent titles, it remains to be seen if the franchise will be completed. No doubt it will ultimately hinge on the success of this film because actors can always be recast and audiences can be quite forgiving if the ‘hook’ of the storyline is strong enough to reel them in. In the case of Harmony, the target audience is girls in their early teens. There are plans for companion series of books and graphic novels to accompany the films, and these could add to the size of the potential viewership if successful. Overall, The Five Frequencies Saga is an extremely ambitious proposal.
Harmony (Falkholt) is a ‘super-empath’, capable of absorbing the fear of anyone she touches. Her mother died during her birth and Jean (Paula Arundell), a nurse at the hospital where she was born, smuggled her out of the maternity ward when she observed that there was something special about the child. Now 21, Harmony lives destitute and alone, having learnt that she can’t be in contact with people in the usual way because her gift weakens her when she uses it. The fear she absorbs can only be expelled through water, where it manifests as an inky black fluid when it washes out of her body. One night she meets, and assists, a lonely woman, Beth (Jacqueline McKenzie), and, later, her son Mason (Jerome Meyer). In him she recognises some kind of a kindred spirit, a positive one, but he’s not the only person in her milieu exhibiting unusual characteristics; she has come to the attention of Jimmy (Eamon Farren), who also seems to be different, only in a very negative, destructive way. In complete opposition to Harmony, he thrives on fear and threatens her very existence.
Harmony is the second feature from Corey Pearson, a writer/director based in New South Wales. His script could well appeal to Young Adult readers of the kind who were fans of The Twilight Saga and it’s city setting looks suitably gritty through the lens of DOP Brendan Gribble. Where it falls down is in some of the performances: the leads are generally fine but some of the supporting actors aren’t up to scratch. Falkholt is very good as the conflicted Harmony and it’s shocking to think that this was her first and last film role. The film is obviously intended for an international audience and all the actors speak with mid-Atlantic accents, which they acceptably pull off. Regrettably though, there’s not a big enough point of difference to get this title out of the pack of similar YA films and series that have recently done, or are currently doing, the rounds, like The Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner and A Wrinkle in Time.