Malaysian film “Interchange” from writer-director Dain Iskandar Said is an experiment testing how many plot twists can be packed into one film. The plot of this Malanglish-noir film rapidly devolves into a maelstrom of “ah ha” moments the audience is not privy to. Instead, anyone outside the film’s inner- circle of humanoid birds, ritual killers and intellectually questionable detectives is left with a hopelessly tangled mess of entrails—ones resembling the dangling, drained veins of the film’s murder victims.
“Interchange”—spoken in a mixture of Malaysian and English—follows forensic photographer Adam as he delves into a supernatural world with his neighbor Iva. As Adam falls for the obligatory mysterious and beautiful woman, he aids his detective friend in solving a series of murders Adam is somehow psychically connected to.
The film’s exposition presents the foundation for a psychological thriller with an expected plot twist, but with unpredictable specifics. But Said whips the audience around with too many turns and red herrings to keep track of. By the end of the film, it remains unclear which details of the plot were the true “Interchange” story versus the fake (or maybe real) story the characters were telling each other.
Said raises more questions than he has time or solutions for. The movie begins in a club called Eden, the two main characters are named Adam and Iva; the Biblical references are uncomfortably obvious, but have no significance to the plot.
The crux of confusion and clichéd dialogue culminates in one scene in which two characters twist an already unrecognizably contorted plot, and talk solely in philosophical one-liners. “When you inhale, you must exhale,” one character says. “When a woman lives forever, she doesn’t need a conclusion,” says the other. This conversation, like the film, is inconsequential. “Interchange” is a constant interchange of plot points. A 103 minute zero-sum game.