Someone's in the house. He's watching. He's creeping round, only you can't see him. He's watching you from the walls. He's right behind you now. Looking over your shoulder. He wants the remote control. He's a bad boy. He wants to watch bad movies. Bad bad Ronald...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

PEEPHOLE REVIEW: Disingenuous -- the Movie (2011)

The Truth Will Set Them Free...

It's anyone's darkest nightmare... being taken away from our everyday comforts, and locked away for reasons unknown.  This is the plight of the everyman central character of Disingenuous, a short film by new comer Scott Fitzgerald and Fair Port Pictures.

A Plumber awakes in a dark, dank, desolate warehouse, chained to a wall and sitting alone at a solitary table.  He has no recollection of how he got there, and the silence of the vast darkness drives his mad.  From the shadows steps a silent cloaked figure, accompanying a bald-headed brute of a man.  The man speaks quietly -- and with a questionable German accent -- asking the plumber to confess his transgressions, as the plumber rapt in fear, tries to figure out just what the hell is going on. It's like the Marathon Man moment, when Olivier insists, quietly, that Hoffman answer the question: "Is it safe?"  To up the ante, another hostage is introduced -- the plumber's... podiatrist?  With more grilling from the brute, the two men unwillingly confess, to each other, their transgressions.  Some of these moment are decidedly light, laced with quotes from Rowen & Martin's Laugh-In and Airplane, but then, just when the satire is ripe, the retribution comes, with the blow of a hammer.
It's hammer time... sorry

First time filmmaker Scott Fitzgerald demonstrates nicely that he knows how to deliver a story.  He proves, also, that he has a sly sense of humor, tossing pop references in that sort of plop down, not really asking to be recognized so much as waiting to see if you'll pick up on them.  There are so many amateur filmmaking pitfalls that Fitzgerald dodges (virtually all of them, as far as I can tell), and his ability to let the satire play, instead of banging it into the viewers head, is one of his strengths.  He laces puns and pop references in without a wink.  It's because he recognizes that the gags aren't the key to the film -- there is a relevancy in them, for sure, but it's all a part of the whole.

With the subtle humor is the dark drama.  And that drama is played well by the cast Christopher Clark (podiatrist), Jesse Conklin (bald brute), Gary Sundown (cloaked guy), and Dave Conley (the plumber).  Fitzgerald (who also wrote and edited the film) does well keeping his cast focused, and true to the situation.

But the other big star of Disingenuous is the cinematography by Derrick Petrush.  How I have craved to see high contrast cinematography return to my genre films!!  As video begins to overshadow film more and more, it seems that the shadows in the movies have all but disappeared.  Noir simply, it seems, is a label for a genre, and no longer is it considered a filmic technique.  With high tech video cameras, cinematographers reveled in the ability to expose the darkest of the dark shadows, areas that film could not expose.  And so night scenes became almost as visible as any of the daylight scenes.  Good for technology!  But bad for the thrills and chills the storytellers were trying to convey.  Petrush brings back those necessary shadows, with pitch black contrasts, that this story uses to convey its secretive mood.  This isn't the clearly viewed skuzziness of a Saw film, where dark colored props and art effects are used.  No.  Real darkness prevails.  Shadows and dark corners present the necessary mood here.
You simply are not you ready for this

Disingenuous is high contrast suspenseful drama that skewers our daily fears and the personal paranoia we wouldn't even speak of in our diary.  The subtle humor and dark drama take the audience on a ride, one where we question every turn, wondering where the hell we're going... until the hammer comes down on a climax that will rip everything apart.  Disingenuous is genuine fun.... But, whatever you do, don't spill the beans...

Disingenuous is now making the rounds at various festivals.  Stick close to their FaceBook page to learn when and where you will be able to see it.

Watch the trailer:

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