Friday, September 12, 2014

Quick Reviews: The Sacrament

Am I ready to admit that an English Found Footage Film is good?  Now throw in 'love him or hate him' Director Ti West and you got something interesting.

His most recent film is The Sacrament, a sort-of retelling of the Jim Jones Incident in Guyana.  My first thought- we're doing this again?  Bear in mind that Ti West has a real old-school mentality and love of the Genre- for better or for worse.  My second thought: well, it has gotten good reviews.  So where do I stand?  Even though you know where the Story is headed, I won't SPOIL exactly how they get there or how close to the real event they play.  Let's look deeper...
VICE is an independent News Show that covers stories very deeply.  They also cover ones that most would not.
After getting a letter from his sister (on the left), this guy (on the right) visits the Compound that she is now living in.  They follow Father and have given up everything.  Is this sane?
Father- who reminds of the late Glenn Shadix- seems nice enough, but there is certainly an insidious edge to him.  Given what this is based on, you know this can't go too well.
Things change when they realize that not everything as it seems.  Get out of here!
With things getting darker and more eerie now, do our heroes have hope of saving the day, let alone escaping alive?
Things get are getting all sorts of serious and not everyone is going to make it to the End Credits alive?  Who will?  Who won't?  Watch the movie to find out.
Well, I found a Ti West film that I like.  I will say this: the Found Footage aspect is really not *that* important to the Story.  The few times that it is used uniquely (like playing with P.O.V. Shots) are things that could have been done as just camera tricks.  Believe it or not, but you can use different and unique Camera Angles without being Found Footage.  You can just do that stuff in a 'normal' film- that's all I'm saying.  Having said that, the way it all works out is quite good.  They do their best to keep things intimate and try to draw you in.  I would have been just as happy without the added trappings, but it is what it is.  My only real major issue is just that not much is really different.  The Jonestown incident is pretty famous, even to people like me who weren't even alive when it happened.  I didn't necessarily expect it to end differently, but I guess I was hoping for some noticeable tweaks to the Narrative.  There are some- and they are good- but the whole thing mostly plays out like you would suspect.  Would it have killed Mr. West to really change things up?  Could the Jim Jones analog have actually been good?  Could someone in the Film Crew have been up to no good?  I don't know what I was hoping for, but I didn't get it.  Ultimately, it is a well-made film that doesn't carry many surprises...but does its own thing just fine.
Definitely a well-made movie.  My only complaint is that not much has changed from the real events.

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