Monday, October 3, 2011

Who is the Victim?

Director: David Bryant
Writer: David Bryant
Starring: John Bocelli, Sarah Coyle, Nina Millns
2011 | United Kingdom | Not Rated | 93 mins

Aside from films with labyrinthine-like plots and high concept ideas one of the most difficult concepts in filmmaking to pull off successfully and properly is the one continuous shot film. You have to be able to tell an engaging story, have very well drawn and believable characters, and most importantly it has to be expertly plotted and rehearsed. Flaws in storytelling and character and acting are really going to show and hinder the entire experience. Because this type of film all takes place in real time you have one shot to get it all right, and therein is a huge challenge and undertaking.

A quartet of ski-masking wearing intruders kidnap Chris McMann (John Bocelli), a groom about to be married on his wedding day. The abductors tie him up and throw him in the back of a sprinter van filming the entire event on a camcorder. Their motive is to get a confession out of the groom. They claim he is not who he says he is and are here to get him to admit what they believe to be the truth. The groom must do what he can to try to survive this ordeal and convince them he is not who they say he is before it is too late.

Victims asks the question of who really becomes the victim or victims in this scenario. The abductors claim they are not vigilantes or criminals, but do demand truth and justice at their own interpretation. David Bryant has an interesting concept and the reveal of the injustice the abductors claim the accused of being responsible for is something that has viewers questioning who they want to side with. Since the film is taking place over real time it is exceedingly dialogue driven. This is both a positive note and a curse for the film as tensions escalate but certain sections are quite forced and theatrical. Good writing and performances are critical but here there are some flaws. John Bocelli and the rest of the cast are quite good, but when the dialogue does feel hokey or theatrical it really takes one out of the tension of the experience and the believability loses credit.

Victims does go to places and asks the questions you hope it would given the situation, as well as throwing in a few surprises, but its major downfall is its inconsistency with maintaining focus and believability. When it's good, it's good. But when it's bad, it's really bad. And confining the film to two locations, the interior of a moving van and an abandoned factory, puts exceeding importance on having a well-structured, acted, and engaging story which Victims falters with more than once. While it has its moments Victims isn't fully executed to its premise or expectations of its goals.

All contents copyright 2011 Tyler Baptist

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