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Director: Zack Parker
Stars: Margo Marindale, Hanna Hall, Adam Scarimbolo
Studio: Breaking Glass Pictures
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 97 Mins
Critics usually don’t have the influence like it once did, but sometimes there is a film that gets your attention from all these quotes from critics. When seeing the DVD art for “Scalene”, I was surprised to see quotes from highly publications like “The New York Times” and “The Village Voice” on an indie release from an a true indie company. That got my interest almost instantly. It was something that I haven’t felt in a while toward an independent film.
“Scalene” is a unique film that tells three point of view of one incident. The film is about a mother (Margo Marindale), who is having trouble raising her mentally challenged son (Adam Scarimbolo). She finds a young student (Hanna Hall) that’s willing to help care for her son, while trying to start a romantic relationship of her own. Things take a turn for the worst, when she comes home one day to find the caretaker accusing her son of rape. After her attorney plea bargains the case out, she becomes angered that her son has been sent to a mental hospital. This leads her to get revenge at the person, who accused her son of something he isn’t capable of.
Lately, your truly hasn’t had the same burning desire towards independent films that I once had. Maybe it’s because there hasn’t been any great independent films that were thought provoking and different from what you see from the major studios. Thankfully, this film restores my faith that independent films can be very provoking and engaging.
“Scalene” is very provoking and different from other films that are out there on DVD and Blu-Ray shelves. Co-writer and director Zack Parker does a very good job with the way that he handles everything. He’s able to get the shots that he needs to make the film very dark. Parker and his cinematographer carefully make sure that the shots stand out and fit each character’s point of view. It truly makes the film very gloomy and let the character’s expression toward the situation show. The other thing that makes Parker’s film standout was the way that he’s able to make the film’s performances stand out from one another. The film’s three main performances helped make the film very good. Parker does a very good job making sure the actors are making their characters interesting, through their expressions and the way that they deliver their dialogue. It makes you conflicted to who’s the victim and who’s the villain, if there is one.
The screenplay written by Parker and Brandon Owens is the other thing besides the performances that makes this film great. The concept of the film was very thought out and different from what you usually see in a thriller. I liked, the way that the writers tell the story from three different views. It makes the story feel very different from each character. It makes for some very shocking twists. This is not your typical paint in the numbers psychological thriller. The other thing that makes this screenplay work is the fact that it really focuses on the characters. The writers did a very good developing the characters through the various point of views. They make them interesting through their emotional state and flaws that each character has. It makes the characters interesting. This is what you want for a film of this nature.
The first featurette on the disc is the feature length documentary of the film called “Perceiving Reality: The Making of Scalene”. This three and a half hour documentary goes into most of the major aspects of the production. You have various on set interviews from all most all of the cast and crew about the various aspects that went into the making this film. It felt like an all access pass, as there’s a lot of information on the film’s production.
I also liked the fact that it’s mostly told from Zack Parker’s point of view, as he’s interviewed extensively on the production of the film. Normally this would be a turnoff, but the film’s documentarian Jason Bilinski does very good job getting Parker’s impressions of the film’s shoot. It really adds something to this documentary that you don’t see in many behind the scenes featurette. This featurette definitely makes up for the lack of an audio commentary track.
Next on the disc is the film’s world premiere featurette, “Q&A and the Awards Ceremony at Dances with Films" This basically highlight’s what happened during the Q&A session, as the cast and director talk about the making of the film. It also goes into the awards ceremony, where you get hear director Zack Parker acceptance speech for the film’s grand jury prize.
The Blu-Ray wraps up with the film’s photo gallery, trailers for the film and upcoming breaking glass picture releases.
This film is a must see, if you’re a fan of Christopher Nolan or Alfred Hitchcock. “Scalene” is very cerebral psychological thriller that has a great story and three great lead performances. It’s easily one of the best films that I’ve seen all year.
Film Review Rating: Five Stars
Blu-Ray Extras: Four Stars