“LFO” (2014) Review by Mark Krawczyk

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What if you created a device that gives you the power to hypnotize anyone you want? You could use that power to control a person’s feelings, make them perform a series of actions, or change how and what they think. Would you use that power for good or evil? These are the questions you might think about while watching LFO from director and writer Antonio Tublen.

Robert is a man who has been experimenting in his basement with low frequency oscillations. One day while he discovers a certain frequency allows him to put people in a trance-like state and basically make them think, feel,or do whatever he tells them. After successful tests on himself, he decides to test it on the couple who live next door. Soon Robert thinks about using his power not just on his neighbors but the entire planet.

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LFO is a unique and disturbing look at human nature’s tendency to abuse power. The audience will see the main character, Robert, evolve from quirky to tragic to just plain creepy. The power he discovers takes him into a world of delusion where he convinces himself the things he is doing with his power, like convincing his neighbor’s wife to have sex with him, is all for the greater good. Robert is played by Patrik Karlson who does an excellent job of conveying the transformation of his character using changes in the character’s gestures and manner of speech. He never shows too much emotion, which helps add to the creepiness of the character.

The people you feel most sorry for are the neighbors. The things Robert does to these two people is really uncomfortable. Even when it seems as if Robert is using his power to help them with their real marital problems, he really is just using them for his own gain. Izabella Jo Tschig and Per Löfberg had great chemistry together. They felt like a real couple which made it even more difficult to watch as they become puppets of Robert. Out of the small cast I enjoyed these two characters the most.

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There are very few special effects in the film, but through the use of convincing dialog and props with a lot of wires, the audience will buy into the idea that Robert has developed this hypnotizing device.  The screenplay also has a number of humorous moments that will have you laughing in spite of yourself.  The script goes to dark places that might disturb some viewers, especially the sex scenes. One thing is for sure, you will feel a range of emotions during the course of the film. It is not action-packed in the least and relies heavily on the dialog and performance of the actors. Some scenes feel repetitious in the second act. The director does an excellent job in setting up the idea and enforcing it but the film begins to drag just a bit as we continuously get these examples of control. I think if a few scenes were trimmed it would have improved the pacing. I should also mention the film is in Swedish with English subtitles which may also turn some people away from the movie.

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LFO is an unique sci fi comedy drama that does an excellent job exploring the darker side of humans and their use of power. Though the film does have some pacing issues and feels repetitious in some areas, I found it to be a refreshing change from the bulk of films we have seen come out of Hollywood as of late. It is not going to be for everyone, but fans of independent cinema should definitely put this on their list. I give it 3 stubs out of 5.

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