Saturday, December 6, 2014
Directed By: Josh Trank
Written By: Max Landis
Cinematography By: Matthew Jensen
Editor: Elliot Greenburg
Cast: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B.Jordan, Michael Kelly, Ashley Hinshaw, Anna Wood
The shy, lonely and outcast teenager Andrew Detmer is bullied and has no friends at high-school and lives with his abusive and alcoholic father Richard Detmer and his terminally ill mother Karen. Andrew buys a camera to film his everyday life. His cousin Matt Garetty drives him to school and invites Andrew to go to a party at night. They meet their schoolmate Steve Montgomery in the party and they overhear a noise and find a hole in a field. They decide to explore the underground and they acquire powers. Soon the trio learns how to control their telekinetic abilities and Andrew becomes the most powerful. But he easily loses his temper and becomes dangerous while Matt tries to control him. When his mother needs a medicine and Andrew does not have enough money to buy it, his darker side overcomes and he becomes a menace.
I understand why they use the found footage angle for the entire film other then more and more films are using it and it has become a trend. Especially in horror films. Here it is used to tell the story more intimately in scenes allowing us access and to get to know a character and not characters. Which was one of he problems I had with the film. When it comes to the other characters who share in the powers. We only get to know them on a surface level so we never know anything about them deeply, but the more powerful one who has more time and reason to focus his attention on the powers and has the camera in the first place to document it all. He is catching most of the footage that this film consists of. As we see his embarrassments, private moments, times of abuse and some joy. He is the only character we get to know on a personal basis. All aspects of his life are detailed making the others two almost into vague caricatures.
What carries them are the actors portraying the other two roles. Michael b. Jordan is the more impressive in the smaller role as he makes his presence felt and when his character is gone it is felt. You feel the fun and charisma of his character as well as taking a popular jock role and filling it out with a person who actually seems genuine. Alex Russell is ok in the standard do gooder role i don't know if her fails to make an impression due to the writing of his Character or the actor not feeling the arc of his role. The director made Dane DeHaan, 'Michael B Jordan', and Alex Russell live in a house together for 15 days in order to create a genuine bond between the three.
This is the story of the formation of a super villain foremost an origin story if you will and it's a vivid story that uses emotional turmoil as well as effects to tell. It's also following a trend I admire in graphic novels. Having the villain tell a story from their point of view. What made them the way they are and getting a chance to see the world from their cracked shaded vision. What lead to the plan or scheme they are putting together and how the superhero has ruined then and their plan over the years. We have always heard it from the other side and just thought I the villain as totally evil, crazy and ultimately expendable, but like most of us they have levels, gripes and beliefs. They are not totally one thing.
Super villains are more like is then we think. They are the people who get super powers and use them more or selfish and self set of reasons then for humanity and the protection and safety of mankind. They tend to be overcome with power and that seems to poison them.
Dale DeHann in his debut performance more than translates this all. It shows a remarkable talent that he fills his character with so much pain and menace. That was frankly missing from his villainous role in THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN 2 (more due to the script)
This film could have been filmed regular. Made a more grand and Barely use the footage from personal cameras and footage from other cameras and integrated them into the film, it would have been one but not brung a certain reality to the preceedings that the director made a wise choice to use the found footage angle. Stuck to it and used it inventively. So it is an achievement and makes the special effects look a little more natural and leaves you to wonder how they achieved it.
At the beginning of the film, where the main character is filming into his bedroom, to the left of the mirror is a drawing which gives away the ending of the film
The ending while grand surprisingly moved me a bit. As I truly felt sorry for Dane DeHann's character. I almost felt like tearing up. I don't know if it was manipulation or a convincing performance.
The film has no original score, only using sources such as radio and iPods to generate music.
I really looked forward to seeing this film. Though it came out of nowhere. I have to say that I am a bit disappointed by it. Only because it didn't totally live up to the potential it put forth. It also doesn't love up to expectations but that is a more personal thing that is not the films Fault.
It opened me up to scenarios and ideas I never saw coming. It's just the film has such a great build up, but only an ok ending. Once you get to it. A satisfactory release, but not an excellent one.
The filmmakers originally intended to have Andrew splay and tear apart his father's limbs exactly like the spider's, but the scene was removed to preserve a PG-13 rating, and to showcase Matt's pacifistic nature.
Kind of wish fulfillment fantasy that asks, what would you do if you got the same opportunity? It also shows you the dark side of what can happen if someone used it indecently.