BIFF Film Review – OXV: The Manual (Australia/UK, 2013)


OXV: The Manual is unlike any other film you’ve seen, it’s even coined a new genre: the ‘scientific-philosophical romance’. It breaks free from genre conventions to deliver a unique story that presents a new look on fate, determinism and freewill.

The film may take a few viewings to fully grasp the rules of writer/director Darren Paul Fisher’s alternative version of reality. Your understanding of the world depends on how open you are to accept it. In this alternative universe, there exists a ‘frequency’. Those more in turn with this frequency will experience higher levels of luck than those who aren’t. Those with low scores are repelled by those with higher scores and the narrative of the film revolves around Zak, who has an abnormally low frequency, trying to change the environment of the world and his frequency so he can love Marie, who is bless with an abnormally high frequency. Frequency’s also dictate empathy, the higher the frequency the lower the empathy.

The narrative is divided into three sections, each from the point-of-view of the three protagonists Marie, Zak and Theo. Different camera angles are selected to allow the audience empathise with differently. Marie, detached from all human emotions, has her story told in mostly profile shots that emotionally disconnect the audience.

As well as having a well paced and twisting plot, the mystery of the world becomes entertaining itself as we deconstruct the laws, codes and rules that govern it. OXV: The Manual is a thought provoking and intelligent film that forces you to think about and question our own world in relation.


OXV: The Manual screened – and was reviewed – at the Brisbane International Film Festival 2013.

Director: Darren Paul Fisher
Year: 2013
Country: Australia/UK
Languages: English
Subtitles: No
Runtime: 105 mins


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