August 4, 2012

Filthy Review - 'Scalene'

Scalene (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

Director Zack Parker’s previous movie, the brooding Quench, was in my opinion a good solid independent movie. It didn’t attack the viewer with all guns-a-blazing; instead it took a slow and methodical approach to delivering its horror. Fast forward to the present day, and we now get to see Parker’s follow-up feature; the quite mesmerizing Scalene.

I will tell you right now that Scalene is not a horror film, it is quite horrifying in places, yet it falls more into the thriller category (for those that like their films neatly slotted into genres). So what is Scalene all about? Well, a scalene triangle is a triangle in which all of the interior angles are different and has sides of a different length. Such is the film, Scalene, it tells one shocking story from three different perspectives; there’s the loving mother, the mute son and the college student sitter.

To tell too much of the plot would really do the film a disservice, other than to say the three stories all tell their side of an accusation of sexual assault; the story preceding the event and the repercussions after. It’s all very well crafted and is often the case with a good story, little bits are revealed to you over time, until you get the complete picture.

The first thing I noticed about Scalene, in comparison to Parker’s Quench, was that the film was a far more accomplished effort. Scalene is still very much an independent movie, yet on a technical and visual level you can tell that Parker has developed incredibly as a filmmaker.

On top of this Scalene is built around three incredible lead performances. Margo Martindale is an absolute powerhouse as Janice Trimble; the mother. It’s a quite incredible showing to be honest. She is ably supported by Hanna Hall, as the sitter Paige, and Adam Scarimbolo as Janice’s son Jakob, who plays the role incredibly well as a mute.

Performances alone can’t always carry a film, and in the case of Scalene they just back up the well-crafted plot. Sure, in the grand scheme of things, Scalene is a downbeat movie. Hey, I am just warning you, but who said all movies should be happy-go-lucky excursions into frivolity? I want all emotions tapped into when I watch a film. Ok, so maybe not all of them, but a film like this will stick in my mind far longer than something that wraps everything up in a joyously upbeat turn of events. Yes, there is a place for that kind of movie, but Scalene is not one of those movies. Don’t get me wrong, Scalene won’t assault you in the manner that something like Martyrs did, but it will have an effect on you.

Overall, Scalene is a damned good movie. It sets out to deliver on the promise of its title and unravels its deceptively simple plot with great skill. Zack Parker has taken a great leap forward in his craft with this film, so I can only imagine what he will come up with next.

Scalene is available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures.

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