Black Rainbow

Black Rainbow

classified 15

Bristol UNESCO City of Film


Please note: This was screened in July 2019

Mike Hodges
Rosanna Arquette, Jason Robards, Tom Hulce, Mark Joy
103 mins, 1989, UK
Primary language

"This 1989 supernatural thriller is ripe for rediscovery" - Rob Mackie, The Guardian

Like much of Bristol-born director Mike Hodges' best work, Black Rainbow transcends the conventions of a thriller with its intelligent script and superbly understated performances.

Spiritualist Martha Travis (Roseanna Arquette) puts the recently bereaved in touch with their loved ones, reassuring them of a happy hereafter; but when she develops the gift - or rather curse - of prophecy, she becomes the disembodied witness to a brutal killing, and the hit-man's next target. As she fights to convince her drunken father (Jason Robards) and a sceptical journalist (Tom Hulce) that her powers are real, the rainbow colours of her visions are painted black, and she slips towards madness and despair...

The result is arguably Hodges' best film since his debut with Get Carter: a psychological thriller with a brain and a heart, which challenges assumptions about reality, religion, the supernatural and ecological matters.