Friday, June 4, 2010

Vindication (2006) Screener

Vindication (2006) Dir. by Bart Mastronardi

A morality tale about a young man whose attempt at suicide fails causing his guilt to manifest into reality.

Bart Mastronardi has be to one of the best independent directors out there. Just watching the film, you know he was doing everything possible to make the best movie he could with limited funds. Vindication is the first film by Bart, and it only makes me want more. The way he writes with power, and directs with passion. He has an outstanding ability for creating a character driven thriller. His vision is unlike any I have ever seen, and I'd be interested in seeing what he could do with someone else's work, let alone his own. I have been pumped for Vindication for quite some time now, and I was not let down.

The first half of the movie is a little slow, and I'll be honest, I was hoping it would eventually pick up. I knew it was slower because it was being used for character development, and sometimes its not the most exciting thing to watch relationships develop between characters, and to learn about their past. When it came time for the movie to switch from psychotic thriller breakdown birth of a monster to almost all out slasher, I was so happy to have seen the first half of the film. To be able to see the descent of the main character, Nicolas Bertrum played by Keith Fraser, was revolutionary as a horror film. The first half of the film draws you to Nicolas, and you begin to care deeply about his character. He is basically getting crapped on all the time, especially by his emotionally abusive father, who is played by the awesome Jerry Murdock. Nicolas tries multiple times to end his own life, but fails miserably every time, and you get the feeling there is a higher power making it impossible for him to die. That is where the story truly begins, and Nicolas's destiny is slowly revealed to him. A destiny that would lead to the birth of a monster!

Besides a few moments of overacting, the acting itself is very solid. Zoe Daelman Chlanda steals the show as she always does. Keith Fraser does a riveting and disturbing portrayal of Nicolas. Keith shows depth, and versatility you don't commonly find in actors of his age and experience. Then you throw in the inhumanly talented Alan Rowe Kelly, and the beautiful Raine Brown , and you have quite a small, but effective cast. There were strong performances all around.

The film itself is amazing. The strong, bloody, violent ending more than effectively makes up for the slower first half of the film. You can call it a film about guilt. You can call it a film about revenge. You can call it a film about redemption. I call it a film about discovery. Discovering what someone is capable of is a mystery when looking at anyone. Nicolas's discovery was his destiny. Bart tosses around brilliant color schemes, unusual camera angles, and breathtaking editing like a bowl of chips at a party. As a director, he doesn't appear to be scared to try anything, even in his first feature. It doesn't hurt that he has an outstanding crew behind him, but his direction gives the film life. It may have taken a hell of a long time to get this film made, but I can't help but feel part of that was because Bart wanted to make a perfect film, and I think he did a pretty damn good job. William Archiello gives the movie true emotion with a score worthy of mention. That sly SOB Dominick Sivilli is in there again. As a cinematographer, he is always stealing every scene with a camera. His work behind the camera is always top notch. I could ramble about his work for pages, but I don't want to feed his ego. Bart manged to put together a great cast and crew to make a great movie, and I applaud him for it. The movie is disturbing, and not in a bad way. I never get to see movies these days that have exemplary storytelling, but I have a feeling I can always rely on Bart Mastronardi to give me a good time.

Entertainment Value: 8/10 Suicide Attempts
Cinematic Value: 7/10 Suicide Attempts

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