Tuesday, January 30, 2018
The Passion of Paul Ross
I watched THE PASSION OF PAUL ROSS and, while it is not straight up horror, it has elements that were definitely horrific and strange enough to cause some flashback movie visuals through the evening. I think that counts for something for sure.
The film is a strange mix of visuals, scenes, and character interactions. It tells the story of the titular Paul Ross and his strange, metaphysical journey. It's packed with dream logic and jarring visuals that really sunk it's claws into me and didn't let me look away from the screen.
To quote the site:
An aging artist discovers that his seemingly perfect suburban life is actually a prison conjured by unknown forces.
And, while it is definitely that, it's much more.
Like Bryan Enk's other feature THE MOOSE HEAD OVER THE MANTEL which I loved, the film has a feel of a play. I love the presentation. That play-like quality feels more present and in person which added to the intensity for me. That combined with the Twilight Zone / Twin Peaks vibe made me very happy. I choose these to get a general feeling only - this film is very much a unique creature, but the visuals are very Peaks in tone.
The other part of this film that made me happy is that it never fell into...how to say it? Pothead babble film plot? You know - that, "Duuuuuuude....what if you were in a prison...but it was like...the prison of your own....miiiiiind. heh! Whoooooaaaa...." I've seen far too many films with their heads wedged firmly up their own arses when it came to a more philosophical plot.
The Passion of Paul Ross avoids all that fakery and provides a storyline that not only makes you think hard about various things like spirituality (No...this isn't a Christian film. At least it doesn't come off that way if it is :) ) , but also tosses in some interesting elements that I have not seen in a film in a long while - subtle ghost overtones. Operative word here being subtle. No "beyond the veil" mist filled rooms or Darth Maul-esque demons. It's simplicity allows for the viewer to really sink into the tale being told.
And now...the downsides. Just a few, really.
Yes, this is a micro-budget film. ($15,000 USD ) Don't hate. Enk was the writer, Director, Producer, light tech and many other things on here without question. He did what he needed to do to get the film made and not only got it made, but made it highly entertaining and solid.
There are some hinky sound moments and a point where I thought the camera was going to be blown over, but non of that took away from my viewing experience. It does need to be called out, however. I know some horror fans are delicate flowers that have a tough time watching films that aren't tossing jump scares and digital blood at them from time to time. ::::grin::::
There is also a set piece at the beginning that goes on for a bit, but it has a point. You may start watching and think, "Is this a music video?" Hang in there - it makes sense. Just enjoy the lovely tones of Amy Beth Coup - she a great singer!
And...that's about it for negatives, honestly. Very minor!
I've seen quite a few screeners of late and I've had to pass on writing reviews for about 75% of them just because...well...they made me angry, actually. This film was the polar opposite. I enjoyed it and immediately thought about a re-watch that very day to go back and pick up on the subtleties!
Lastly, the acting was a lot of fun. Steve Bishop and Becky Byers are so much fun to watch on screen and run through every emotion in the book with a grace that I found to be very pleasing.
The aforementioned Amy Beth Coup's delightful singing voice was grand.
Hell, the whole cast was pitch perfect for the tone of the film and looked like they had a ton of fun making it. Their commitment to the oddness really sold the feature and added to the overall feeling of unease and dream-like bizarreness.
Do yourself a favor and seek this film out. It's a lot of fun! I'll post details about how and when to get the film as soon as I learn more.
The Passion of Paul Ross (2017) - Official Teaser from Third Lows Productions on Vimeo.