Friday, January 21, 2011
Worm (2010) Dir. by Richard Powell
A day in the mind of Geoffrey Oswald Dodd, a seemingly kind, gentle and sane high school teacher. As we follow Geoffrey through the course of a typical school day we gain an eerie insight into the darkest corners of his soul and beyond. Beneath the carefully constructed veneer of Geoffrey Dodd lies something wretched, insidious and foul rotting him from the inside out. Written by Richard Powell.
It might be the fact that I have little time to view feature length films these days, but I have really been on a Short Film kick lately. So I could not think of a better time for Worm to show up thanks to Producer Zach Green of Fatal Pictures. I know that I was interested from the start thanks to the extremely original ad/poster, so I was excited to see the film. Can't judge a book by it's cover? Maybe that applies to film as well? Actually I'm positive it does, as I have seen a lot of crappy films that had amazing artwork on the cover. Worm is not one of them.
Richard Powell's experience as a writer/director, at least according to IMDB.com, doesn't run terribly deep with this being his sophomore film to the previously released cannibalistic short Consumption (2008). With that being said, nothing about his work seems amateur by any means. The camera used isn't terribly crisp, but is very affective for this particular genre of film. It felt like an independent film, but in a good way. Besides, it was nice to see a movie that wasn't in 3D for a change. I wouldn't be surprised to see Powell doing larger budget films in the future.
Geoffrey Dodd (played by Robert Nolan) is a deep, deep character with many many issues, and this film doesn't even touch the tip of the iceberg with them. Personally, I thoroughly enjoy character development in film, and I praise filmmakers when they do a great job with it. This is one of those cases, as Dodd is easily understandable right from the beginning of the film, and never really goes into that realm of confusion. Nolan is spot on with the acting, and gets you thinking about what your teachers were thinking about you when you were in high school. I knew I had recognized Nolan from somewhere else this year, and it struck me that he was in the (tv) movie Red: Werewolf Hunter with the ever so adorable gamer girl Felicia Day. His character wasn't too terribly large, but he has a face you can't forget. When watching him I kind of expect him to be a foreign criminal antagonist playing opposite of Bruce Willis or Jean-Claude Van Damme, but it hasn't happened yet... give it time. Pretty common for a short, but most of the rest of the characters are pretty forgettable, but the story isn't there to focus on them. It is all about Dodd, and his decent into madness as his day progresses on. Nolan plays him with precision accuracy, and basically drives the film from beginning to end. He sucks you in and keeps you there, and I'm sure a lot of that is because of Powell's above par direction.
The writing is about as good as it gets, especially with the continuous inner dialogue from Dodd. Time is almost perfect as he makes his quick comments to himself in between conversations with students and fellow faculty. Well timed close-ups and a light melodic score keep the theme; a steady building rage. At first I was a little confused as to where the film would progress, but it didn't take time for it to take off, and by that time I was just on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen yet. I would have liked to see a little more contrast in the lighting scheme and it surely would have added to the tone, but then again that might be the Hitchcock loving nerd in me speaking. The pacing in the film is pretty darn close to perfect, and I wasn't so sure it would do much more than be a short film, but the depth of character left room for expansion, and also brought me to my only issue with film. It may be an issue for me, but I'm thinking it was a cleverly placed ending on the filmmakers part, and I won't say what it is, but it left me wanting more. I WANT MORE. In the end, I put Worm up there in the top five Independent Shorts I have seen in the past year, and I have some questions I would like answered about Worm, so I look forward to seeing more in upcoming years from the same cast and crew. Go check out the info on Worm!
Entertainment Value: 8/10 Apples for Teacher
Cinematic Value: 7/10 Apples for Teacher
R.D. Penning of Dead End Drive-In says "WORM will get inside you!"