“Out of Blue,” writer-director Carol Morley’s awkwardly titled, sketchy adaptation of Martin Amis’ 1997 novel, “Night Train,” isn’t as egregiously bad as the last film based on an Amis book, 2018’s “London Fields,” but it’s a dud in its own right.
This flatly shot and designed procedural mystery — one laced with a convoluted heaping of cosmology — finds driven New Orleans cop Mike (yes, that’s her name) Hoolihan (a sinfully dialed-down Patricia Clarkson) investigating the murder of astrophysicist Jennifer Rockwell (Mamie Gummer).
There are several key suspects — Jennifer’s wealthy, Vietnam war veteran dad (James Caan, adrift); her science professor boyfriend (Jonathan Majors); creepy boss (Toby Jones); and loopy mom (Jacki Weaver) — but Mike can’t seem to get much traction.
Elements from an unsolved serial-killer case, contrivedly mixed with such astronomical concepts as black holes and parallel universes, move Mike closer to her prey. Until they don’t. Until they do again.
The film suggests that not everything we’re seeing may be real, including such fleetingly repeated images as a red scarf, a blue bead, a tribal mask and a face-cream jar. Are they just recovering alcoholic Mike’s mind’s-eye visions or a matter of cosmic interference? And like much else here (i.e., the pantsuited Mike’s debated femininity), to what actual end?
The plodding “Out of Blue” isn’t out of ideas — just out of gas.
‘Out of Blue’
Running time: 1 hour, 49 minutes
Playing: Starts Friday, Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica; also on VOD