Very stylish movie: well shot, well acted, gorgeous location. The shock ending was indeed very startling, although I didn't quite understand what was going on.
I want to talk about this film in two parts. BMC (before Match Cut) and AMC (after Match Cut)
BMC: We have a really nicely acted series of character scenes. My prediction during this part was that the twist was something like 'he's got something terminal and he's going to Finland for a euthanasia clinic' (do they even have those? no idea).
The whole 'going to Finland' thing seemed a little odd (his decision seemed arbitrary) which was maybe a good and a bad thing as it put me off the scent of the real ending, but also led me to expect that there was some special significance to his decision (maybe there was and I missed it).
AMC: Stunning match cut. The change in lighting/ amazing set dressing/ and especially sound that this triggered by the cut was absolutely exhilarating. The newspapers to fill in back story went by so fast I didn't catch any details, but I certainly got the idea of what had happened.
A film I am looking forward to seeing again (most likely at the finals).
The acting was great. The shock ending was shocking. The location was superb. There were parts where I got a little lost, but an nevertheless, a solid wee film.
Ever since 2010's ingenious "TAKE 4" split-screen ghost film, Strang has been one of the teams that I follow and looked forward to each year. But because the production values and filmmaking craft are so well-honed, it's sometimes frustrating when the writing doesn't quite match that level. Happily then, this year's effort is a terrifically close and personal character-based story, simple in idea but focussed and executed sensitively. Which is doubly impressive, considering that Twist Ending is one of those unforgiving 'gimmick' genres, annoyingly open but also annoyingly prescriptive (plus it's harder to surprise an audience when they already know that some kind of twist is coming).
All the performances were solid and played with a light naturalistic touch. But it was David Allen's main guy that really carried things along, with nice shifts in tone from easy-going to anxious. I especially appreciated that the film allowed space and time for micro character moments to really breathe, to allow those small facial muscles to communicate more than dialogue can say. The highlight in this regard was the intimate scene of him and his ex-wife sitting down, and her attempts to get him to stay using the dangling carrot of their past relationship. It was a joy to see successive conflicting emotions subtly ripple across his demeanour, and we genuinely had no idea what his decision would ultimately be.
To the genre, the real question was whether this domestic story could convert to a satisfying twist ending. But I think it landed the ending very well indeed. Along the way, I couldn't help but internally speculate about what was to come, but I'm glad to say the eventual twist was pretty much totally unexpected. It was a great example of a tonal shift that, rather than undercutting what came before, actually enriched it. I can't say that I completely understood the full logic of what had happened, but I got enough to understand the emotional imperatives of what was going on (safe to say, this film demands a re-watch).
(A few people were raving about the match cut after the heat, which is when I realised that I hadn't noticed it. Which is possibly not a bad thing at all - I was clearly sufficiently invested in the story by that point that it just worked as part of the filmic language.)
So yeah, not much to fault here. Maybe some of the sound was a bit noisy in places, and the recurring American Beauty-esque musical motif was possibly played just one or two times too often (although I might feel differently about that on a second viewing). Bloody great stuff.
What an amazing ending! one of the best films in the heat!
Being handed Shock Ending is like having a loaded gun in the first scene - you know it's going to go off eventually. I spent a lot of the movie trying to stay in the moment - but couldn't help myself trying to guess the ending. I didn't - it came as a shock! Well done! This was a beautifully filmed, superbly acted and well devised story. The acting was strong across the board but the lead hero, was a standout! I'm really looking forward to seeing this film again, I need a couple of viewings to fully get what was actually going on ... and looking at the other reviews - I wasn't the only one to struggle to put all the pieces together. But I don't think that is a downside - it just intrigues me more. Luckily - I am pretty sure I will get to see this one again. Awesome work team!!
What I liked about this film. From the moment this film came on in Heat 8 you could instantly see the jump in the quality of the Cinematography. Beautifully well shot film and well acted as always. Shock ending is an incredibly hard genre to nail as your audience is waiting for it. But Strang definitely nailed it this year. As I could tell by the girl sitting next to me actually screaming on that incredible match cut shot! So much to love about it and an easy pick for the finals.
What I feel needed working on - The story up until the shock ending was just starting to drag a little. The ending really pays it off but perhaps the pacing up until that point could have been a tiny bit faster as the interest in the story was just starting to dropoff.
Most noticeable for me was the score. It seemed to have the same little piano loop playing in each scene . Which didn't always match the mood of each scene and by the 3rd or 4th time became quite noticeable.
But minor details in a great 48 hours entry.
I have watched Strang over the past few years and loved their work.
(I still chuckle even now over The Kids Next Door (2011). )
That said, this year's one didn't work for me.
Maybe because it was too slice-of-life, and dragged.
Maybe because I didn't relate to the characters.
But they nailed the shock ending! In spades.
Anyway: superb production values, good acting, and well shot and editted.
Strang Entertainment once again delivers a film with a jarringly different tone to the rest of the finalists.
Knowing this is a shock ending film, I was trying to figure out the whole movie what could possibly happen. Safe to say I wasn't even close to guessing.
That being said I didn't entirely understand the ramifications of the twist ending, I'm guessing Harper's friends were doing some sort of temporal time travel spell? Still, the tonal shift is masterful.
The one place this film really suffers is it's sound mix, with the noise of nearby traffic constantly cutting in and out, though I'm not one to talk on this subject because we had the same issue.
A concerned group of family and friends do their best to stop a man they care deeply about from leaving for Finland.
When I looked at my notebook after I arrived home from the final I realised that I hadn't managed to take a single note on this film! Why? I was completely engaged.
In many ways, this is a very simple film: small cast, single location and basic premise but the reality is there is a lot more going on. The interactions between the characters are very genuine, have meaning and all the more important once the ending is revealed. They are also superbly acted, with David Allen an obvious stand out. Everything he does adds such credibility to the character. The cinematography was beautiful, the editing superb and the match-cut as mentioned everywhere, perfectly executed. Sound at times may have been the only weak point.
"The Intervention" wins with me because it is the one film I've seen this year that has kept me intrigued and thinking about it later. I really want to know what happened next with this. I hope it gets picked up for the National final.