They say that a man with nothing to lose is the most dangerous. Weronika Mliczewska’s The Cycle sets out to augment that adage slightly, to suggest that a man with nothing to lose is the most dangerous to himself. In a film that plays like an episode straight out of The Twilight Zone [USA, 1959-1964], there is enough mystery and intrigue to make you stroke your chin and wonder exactly what you’ve just seen.
The plot follows a man who has hit rock bottom, as he rages through a desert highway in a Jeep. He discovers his wife is cheating on him with his best friend and that he’s lost his job, and as if that wasn’t enough bad news, he accidentally collides head-on with a gypsy. What unfolds next is a surreal, allegorical fever dream that leaves viewers with more questions than concrete answers.
While the opening wide-shots of the desert landscape are gorgeously dream-like and expansive, the editing in certain places feels slightly hurried. The concept in itself is interesting, with science fiction, fantasy, and suspense elements, but doesn’t feel fully fleshed out in its dramatic scenes, despite actor Myles Cranford’s serviceable efforts.
Ultimately, The Cycle is a film with a promising idea at its core about phantoms of the past coming back to haunt their subjects; a man’s mistakes being repeated over and over in a loop like Nietzsche’s theory of eternal recurrence. Tauter editing and more sure-handed direction would have made for a more satisfying climax. The wheels need a bit more oiling.