Ultrasound (2021) [2021 Tribeca Film Festival] 

After a car problem, a man is taken in by a couple who later offer him an odd/interesting proposition. This is only the beginning of what soon becomes an odd fever-like dream. 

Written by Conor Stechschulte and directed by Rob Schroeder, Ultrasound has an interesting premise, some curiouser and curiouser twists and turns, but ultimately does not fully hit any of the notes it seems to be reaching for. This leads to a film that feels a bit uneven, or lacking of sorts, in a manner that is hard to explain. It will surely hit better with some viewer, but this viewer here did not connect with the film when everything that led to wanting to see it seemed to indicate that it would be the perfect movie for a gloomy evening.  Some of the film was absolutely excellent, brilliant even, but it was all surrounded by things that felt a bit useless or like nonsense. By the end of the film, it’s easy to get a feeling for what could have been and that’s where it gets a bit frustrating as there are really good bones and ideas in here, but they are not necessarily pushed where they needed to go for some to be fully satisfied with the film. 

The cast here is what keeps the attention throughout the film and its twists and turns, giving performances that show they are professionals and truly believed in their material. Vincent Kartheiser and Chelsea Lopez lead the pack and give the kind of performances that pull the viewer in and don’t really let go, ever. Whenever these two, or one of them, are on screen, it gives the film that much more interest. When neither are involved is when the attention is lost. The rest of the cast does good work, but these two really carry the film and make it one that it something to be watched even with its story and pacing issues. 

The film as a whole looks good, dark and gloomy, but good. There is a tone to the whole thing that is kept throughout and it works for the story. The work by cinematographer Mathew Rudenberg gives it a look that is particular to it, with scenes of dark greys contrasting with more bright whites when needed, giving the film a style, but also giving each scene its own mood. This is something that cannot be missed while watching the film, especially when the content of some of the scenes just isn’t hitting it out of the part. The visuals here are on point. 

Ultrasound is a film with plenty good ideas and two great lead performances, but something feels off or like it’s missing, which becomes frustrating as one thinks of all the potential the film had. It’s one of those films some will adore and disagree with the above, some will hate, and others will fall mostly in the middle. The two saving graces of the film are its performances and the images.