It’s always hard creating a film from the ground up, but the recent psychological thriller ‘Wronged’ shows hope that indie films can actually hold their own.
Things get a little Scorcese for a family after a miscarriage and marital turmoil, and the family takes a trip up north, and unfortunately, get mixed up in a dirty cop money grab gone wrong. Now, without giving the entire film’s plot away step by step, there are some accolades to hand out in the technical application of the film. And I PROMISED Nicholas Holland, the writer, and director that I’d be 100% truthful with my review and not go “easy” on it, but give it a fair review.
As far as my qualifications to review this film? I’ve worked on multiple sets, creatively and commercially, in multiple roles, as well as directed films, been Director of Photography on multiple projects, done Special Effects Makeup when needed, and edited and color graded multiple projects. Hell, I’ve even acted in some projects! So, in short, I kind of do know what I am talking about! (Insert laughing emoji here) Let’s get started.
Camera Work / Color Grade
The film is ace when it comes to the color grade and camera work. Some of the film’s frames are shakey, but that seems to be more of a directorial intent thing than it is a “we didn’t have a stabilizer” thing. The film takes some great running shots that are not in a point-of-view, and the close-ups and framing of all subjects illustrate the stress, emotion, and suspense of the film.
The Story / Script / Acting
The story and script itself are captivating. While some actors are more convincing than others in the film itself (the kids, mom, police, pregnant woman are all GREAT), if I could elicit more emotion from the lead role of “David,” in some parts, I would have hoped for a little more oomph to make me BELIEVE him. As the film progresses he gets much better in the form of action, but the initial discussion with his psychologist was not my favorite / could have been a little more convincing. Toward the end, the rage and tenacity make up for the couple times it lacked.
One of the things I could very much have done without, and left a bad taste in my mouth was that there are 2 times that rape is brought up: Once with one of the bad guys and the deaf woman, the other when one threatens to rape the young girl that was kidnapped. There’s no reason for those to be there other than to prove they are “bad guys,” which we already knew, and we as cinematic individuals need to not use rape as a punchline or a plotline, because it is NEVER okay.
I think this might have been the least dazzling part of the film. While Special Effect Makeup is seemingly hard to come by when it comes to talent in Michigan, sometimes less is more. There is an instance where an eyeball pops out of a bad guy on top of his face being “skinned off” and it’s not believable. The cuts on David’s nose are noticeably fake and look more like dry scabs, and the fake blood smeared on the actors’ faces is far too bright to give the illusion of actual violence. Out of everything, this is the weakest link, and what reminds you that this film is a local film and not professional grade artistry.
The Score / Sound Quality
The music is perfect. All of the music beds for the film itself and sound effects to keep you on the edge of your seat, which is what a good score is supposed to do. I initially had some qualms with the sound quality, but talking to the Director, I found that I was watching the version in which the sound had not been corrected as of yet.
Overall, I say this is probably the best local film I’ve seen so far. Solid plot with a tough storyline. As I touched on before, if you removed those rape mentions, and had more convincing special effect makeup, I would say that this film would land a B+ if you wanted to give it a letter ranking.