Netflix Original Paradox explores the journey of a group of outlaws searching for treasure and experiencing the supernatural powers of a full moon. The musical features new music from Neil Young and Promise of the Real. Directed and written by Daryl Hannah, the movie aired globally on Netflix March 23, 2018.
Netflix Original Paradox is not a story about the scientific phenomenon with time jumps and overlapping storylines. Paradox is a trippy, beautiful creation that cherishes music and the country. Daryl Hannah’s creation is almost a concert, starring outlaws playing folk music, forgiving itself for reduced dialogue and allowing the surroundings to breathe. At one point, the movie does turn into a concert, with the music showcased in all its wonderful glory. Paradox forces you to stay away from the norm. It is beautiful for staying true to its material and although it is classed as a musical, the genre is hard to nail down with the raw elements it brings.
Underneath the relaxing music, there is clearly a director enjoying their camera work. Most of the story is based upon what we can see. The movie allows you to feel the atmosphere of each environment with woodlands, blades of grass and farming areas used as a setting and not just as a background. The outlaws are obviously based on the western genre, looking for mysterious treasure, and whilst on their adventures, they come alive at night when the full moon glows. If you remove yourself from the confines of what a movie should be, then you will have 73 minutes to enjoy. Paradox is not meant to be a western adventure story, it is a director’s love letter to music, long nights next to the campfire and the appreciation of forgotten western lands.
Do not expect much dialogue. Netflix Original Paradox does not need a well-written script. Any line that is spoken in a southern twang is only constructed to progress the story and the music. If anything, the movie proves that there are no boundaries to filmmaking and stories can be absolutely anything. Paradox is just as much a documentary about its surroundings than a fictional story about mischievous outlaws. I’m fine with that. The Netflix film does not need to subject itself to anything else. At odd moments, its romance with westerns can be appreciated with each outlaw displaying differentiating personalities.
A criticism can be thrown at Paradox. It could be viewed as too short, however, after being mesmerised by engaging filmmaking I believe the short running time is clearly an artistic choice and not the result of editing decisions. If Paradox did become a long feature, then there would have been a danger of its messages to be less effective and enjoyable. Perhaps 73 minutes is the correct length.
Daryl Hannah and Paradox clearly go hand in hand in terms of directorial vision. This is what happens when directors do not succumb to the pressures of mega movie studios that limit creativity and have full control of their material. You get something as wonderful as this. Although it is not perfect, with a mixture of country shots and no actual direction, Netflix Original Paradox is a pleasure to watch.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.