“Uncertainty” (IFC Home Video) is a little-seen 2010 romantic thriller powered by the seemingly endless choices anyone is faced with on a given day in New York City.
Do you explore uptown or downtown?
Head to Brooklyn rather than Manhattan?
Relax or look for something a bit out of the ordinary?
In the opening scene, Bobby (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Kate (Lynn Collins) find themselves smack in the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge on a beautiful July 4, but they can’t decide if they should join her family in Brooklyn for a picnic or spend the day in a private romp in Manhattan.
Bobby tosses a coin — which doesn’t really decide anything — and the lovers race off in opposite directions.
In a supernatural twist reminiscent of that old Gwyneth Paltrow picture, “Sliding Doors,” the rest of the picture follows two different Bobbys and two versions of Kate — the couple that goes to the picnic and the lovers who look for fun in Manhattan.
Writer-directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel (whose work includes the solid 2001 thriller, “The Deep End”) keep the two parallel stories clear by labeling the Brooklyn half “Green” and the Manhattan tale “Yellow.”
Obviously there is no rational explanation for what we see, but the result is an amusing and suspenseful bit of metaphysical speculation. Gordon-Levitt and Collins have such strong chemistry together that both halves of the story are equally interesting.
The Manhattan plot turns into a thriller after Bobby and Kate find a cell phone in a cab and make the mistake of calling a few of the numbers stored in the phone in an attempt to find the owner. Soon they are running for their lives from a group of mysterious criminals who say they are willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to get the phone back.
The Brooklyn scenes are strictly personal, with the couple visiting Kate’s parents for a mellow July 4 that becomes stressful as the young unmarried woman struggles to tell her family that she’s pregnant.
“Uncertainty” has a wonderful relaxed, summer-day feeling in many of the scenes and the two stars are very appealing. The movie doesn’t really add up to much, but it’s an entertaining way to spend 105 minutes.