Several days after finishing Rabbit, I find myself still pondering exactly what happened. No doubt, the feeling is precisely what Luke Shanahan intended with his first feature-length film. Shanahan didn’t exactly gift wrap his story, to the chagrin of everyone who wants their plot in a pretty package and a bow on top. However, Shanahan cements himself as an exquisite storyteller, in the vein of filmmakers like Fincher or Lynch.
He brilliantly combines gorgeous cinematography, skillful editing, and an unnerving synth score designed to keep you gripping your armrests throughout. Whether the payoff is worth the tooth-grinding anticipation will be up to the viewer, but the Shanahan confidently executes the journey. Rabbit probably disappoints most viewers looking for clear answers. However, it’s a delight to anyone who wants to think about a film long after the credits roll.
Adelaide Clemens (Silent Hill: Revalation, The Great Gatsby) is stunning in the lead role of Maude, and twin sister Cleo. Rabbit explores an extreme form of cryptophasia–the phenomenon of twins forming their own language. Except in Shanahan’s extreme vision, this form of language transcends time and space itself. Through a series of visions, Maude discovers the location of her lost, and presumed murdered, twin. She embarks on a journey with Cleo’s fiancé and a detective, broken by the dead-end investigation.
Maude’s investigation may be the weakest aspect of the story. The plot literally, and quite conveniently, tells Maude where to go next. Thus, Rabbit has the appearance of a mystery without actually allowing the characters to solve it. However, the mystery isn’t the point of the film. Instead, it serves as a canvas permitting Shanahan to play with the cryptophasia concept. It’s more of an exploratory effort than a straight-up narrative, and it’s executed brilliantly. Albeit, Shanahan does so at the expense of a more accessible story.
Overall, Rabbit provides a stunning look at a fascinating world, showcasing the filmmaker’s talents with both storytelling and world building. The film is currently playing in Australian cinemas after screening at film festivals around the world.
A Mental Mindfuck Of A ‘Rabbit’ Hunt [Review]
A film made for fans who like to think. It’s not a conventional narrative nor a conventional story, but manages to introduce a stunning world that feels both fantastical and grounded at the same time. Not all viewers will be able to get behind this, but those who do are in for a ride.